College scandal impacts LT

Diane Makovic, Copy editor

With the exposition of the recent college admissions scandal in March, eight of the country’s most prestigious universities were put into the spotlight. Current junior students will apply to colleges next year aware that some were able to bribe their way into school.

“I would feel more frustration during the application process with the knowledge that this was happening and students bribed to get into school,” Kiley Durkin ‘20 said.

The recent college scandal revealed that celebrities and parents bribed undergraduate admissions decisions, some paying millions of dollars to get into some of the top universities, such as Georgetown University, Stanford University, University of California at Los Angeles, University of Southern California, University of San Diego, University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University, and Yale University. Since they will be under additional scrutiny following the admissions scandal, colleges will be more cautious during the application process, LT College Coordinator Lianne Musser said.

“I think the admissions landscape is going to be quite cautious,” Musser said. “Colleges are going to be under scrutiny. They’re already highly suspect. Part of that is due to their own lack of transparency in the application process to be sure.”

One aspect of the admissions scandal involved cheating on standardized tests. More colleges are becoming test optional, although 65% to 75% of students still send in ACT and SAT scores, Musser said.

“More and more schools take many factors into admission decisions,” Class of 2020 counselor Christopher Grosrenaud said. “Any test score is just one variable in all the factors.  Students can get test prep at different levels as well making the landscape in testing not a level one for all students. I’m glad there are more test optional schools, I think it’s a better way of viewing the student holistically.”

After the scandal was exposed, LT is hoping there will be more transparency in the application process, Musser said.

“Athletes have always had some selective college admissions exceptions and so have legacies,” Musser said. “There have always been priorities there. I don’t think students were aware that these kinds of things were going on, but now that they have been brought to light, I think a lot of colleges are going to be really careful. But I don’t think it’s going to hurt our students. If anything, we’re hoping it brings more transparency to the process.”

Even with the widespread media coverage given to the scandal, it was an anomaly and won’t directly change how students apply, Grosrenaud said.

“I do not feel the admission scandal in the media will change how students go about the application process at LT,” Grosrenaud

Colleges have said they take a holistic approach while reviewing applications, but there are institutional priorities that students are often unaware of, Musser said.

“For instance, colleges have always told us that they do a holistic review, look at your transcript, your application and what you say about yourself, what your teachers say,” Musser said. “But in the end we know they have a lot of their own institutional priorities. If they happen to need an oboe player, they don’t advertise ‘we need oboe players,’ but an oboe player will stand out over someone else.”

Musser hopes students will keep an open mind while looking at schools even without considering the admissions scandal.

“Students tend to use rather superficial guidelines or judgements, such as ‘I’ve never heard of that school so it can’t be good’ or ‘they’re not in the top 15 schools in US News and World Report,’” Musser said. “I wish there were no rankings, no anything about a school other than a student saying I’m going to go on that campus and see if it has a lot of the things I am interested in and pick a school that way, not ever looking at how they’re ranked or what their highest GPA is and feeling that they’re going to miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime by not attending one of the top 25 schools in the country.”