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Sunday, November 28, 2021
<p>FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2019 file photo, actress Lori Loughlin, center, poses with daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, left, and Isabella Rose Giannulli at the 2019 "An Unforgettable Evening" in Beverly Hills, Calif. Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were charged along with nearly 50 other people Tuesday in a scheme in which wealthy parents bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country, federal prosecutors said. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)</p>

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2019 file photo, actress Lori Loughlin, center, poses with daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, left, and Isabella Rose Giannulli at the 2019 "An Unforgettable Evening" in Beverly Hills, Calif. Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were charged along with nearly 50 other people Tuesday in a scheme in which wealthy parents bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country, federal prosecutors said. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Applying for college was one of the most difficult academic challenges of my life. It was the compilation of years and years of all-nighters, skipped social events, supportive teachers (and not-so-supportive teachers), my parents’ sacrifices and so much work. I poured all of myself into my college applications because going to college was my most important goal.

When I read that wealthy parents bought their students spots into many of the schools I applied to, it immediately frustrated me. It made me question whether my spots in those universities taken by students who didn’t deserve to go there. Most sickening, though, is the fact that white privilege already runs rampant in college admissions when there aren’t any scandals. The blatant white privilege in this admissions scandal appalls and disappoints a nation of people who were hoping these institutions were combatting the racism within the admissions process, instead of encouraging it.

Yale University, the University of Southern California, Georgetown University and Wake Forest University are some of the top-tier institutions implicated in the scandal. Some schools went so far as to accept students as athletes when the students did not play the sports listed in their applications. How can we trust schools, anywhere, to provide a fair admissions process when some of the best schools in the country, and in the world, broke that trust? The outrage lowers the status of these elite schools and calls into question the integrity of the entire admissions system.

Professors at the schools in question should be investigated as well. Think about it this way: If the student couldn’t earn their way into the college they’re attending, that is not the school they belong in. Furthermore, if the student doesn’t have the academic rigor or resume to get into that school, how could they succeed there? They probably won’t succeed.

So if these privileged students begin to fail their classes, how do we know that their parents won’t approach their student’s professors and try to pay for a sparkling and shiny final transcript for their students? I have the utmost respect for the wise instructors at these universities, and I don’t mean to offend or accuse any of these teachers. I simply recognize the unprecedented lengths these parents would go to push their children forward in life, and I question where these bribes ended.

I understand parents want the best for their children; that is totally normal. However, buying their child’s spot into college is far from normal. I don’t know how I’d react if my parents tried to buy my way into college, but I know it would be a serious ding to my confidence. I don’t think those parents realized the ripple effect their shady admissions deals caused, either. This scandal will damage the integrities of the schools involved, call the integrity of some professors into question and completely alter the lives of students whose spots were taken by rich, unworthy kids.

Students whose applications were honest and impressive who were rejected nonetheless are harmed the most. Many students paid hundreds of dollars in application fees, thinking this guaranteed a fair admissions process. Instead, the pocketbooks of their parents were compared to those of the extremely wealthy. These deserving students were turned away not for academics, extracurriculars or essay flaws but because of their monetary worth. The scandal cost them spots in these institutions, putting these students on an entirely different path in life.

This scandal cost cheaters hundreds of thousands of dollars, their reputations, their careers and their comfortable lifestyles. Graduates of the implicated schools express outrage with the scandal and many worry their degrees will lose value in response to this scandal. USC blocked the children of these implicated parents from enrolling in classes until it finishes investigating student involvement. The college admissions system will need to reform in order to restore public faith in admissions counselors and trust in these universities. For now, we have to keep the education system accountable for the actions it is taking to ensure a fair admissions system.

Chasity Maynard is a UF journalism freshman. Her column appears on Fridays.

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2019 file photo, actress Lori Loughlin, center, poses with daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, left, and Isabella Rose Giannulli at the 2019 "An Unforgettable Evening" in Beverly Hills, Calif. Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were charged along with nearly 50 other people Tuesday in a scheme in which wealthy parents bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country, federal prosecutors said. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

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