A few weeks ago, naïve me was at Whole Foods grocery shopping. Before I departed the store I checked my phone- no new messages, emails, smoke signals, anything. Empty of communication. Fifteen minutes later as I rode the elevator up to my floor my phone looked entirely different. 20 text alerts, 2 missed calls and 10 new emails. Hmmm…what happened in the past 15 minutes?

Of course, this is when the news of the college admissions scandal broke.

Many of my friends have graduating high schoolers who had applied to college. Many of my friends/family knew how grueling this process has been. Half of the messages were “OMG Aunt Becky!” and half were ‘How do you feel about this?” My friend K even texted me- “Boy- I can’t wait to see your blog on this.”

I found myself so crazed that I could not rationally discuss the subject. I fully admit that after I read one news story about it, I stopped reading and watching and listening to coverage of it. I knew that listening to the news would only send me into a whirlpool of despair- I know crappy things exist. I just don’t need to surround myself with it.

I also knew that my kid had applied to two of the schools on the list. And her friends had applied to schools on the list. And I know all about the single and barely double digit acceptance rates at many of these schools. Crazed. My mind was in overdrive.

I thought, wrongly I might add, that after a few weeks I would be calm enough to write a comprehensive post about my feelings.


And until my daughter hears from those two schools later this week, I am still going to keep quiet on the subject, because I’m still in Mom watching her daughter get into college mode.

But…I will give you my overall take:

How do you think many of these students feel now that they know for sure that their parents do not think they are good enough? That the effort these kids put in as students was not good enough for their parents?  How do they feel now that they know what their parents really think of them?

41 thoughts on “Hmmm …The Admissions Scandal

    1. Oh…there are other things I want to say….but I’m trying to compose myself first. When my daughter has chosen a school, I’ll be able to be more objective. At this moment my view is somewhat clouded and that’s not a fair way to approach something

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  1. I think the parents of little faith in their kids may come into play, however I also think that these are parents who have lived with privilege and expect certain things and have likely had things handed to them in life. Why would they not carry on the tradition for their kids. I’m also pessimistic that many of these kids feel hurt or demeaned by what has happened. While I can’t or won’t generalize to all of them the feeling of being less, I tend to believe that many of these kids have grown up expecting just as much as their parents and the expectation is that they will get it, no matter what because why work for something that they don’t have to. They have been taught, wrongly of course, that this is how life works in their world.

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    1. I totally get that. I’m clearly unable to be objective at this point, because my kid has yet to hear from about ten schools. You know what my gut reaction is, but it’s not fair to write from that perspective because it’s clearly skewed. I think there are some kids that think it’s part of privilege, but others….not so sure.

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  2. I feel like this sort of bribery has been happening for a long, long time. I’m not currently in the applying-for-schools pond, so don’t have any feelings invested in whether I was rejected because of money.

    The exposé is good for everyone, like the whole metoo movement was for performers. We need to continue watching for and insisting on consequences for all these behaviors. They’re not going to go away on their own.

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    1. I know some of the kids obviously knew, but some of them I truly believe were innocent of what their parents did. And it’s those kids that my heart breaks for…to think that your parents don’t think you measure up?

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  3. I wonder what percentage of students were bribing their way in per university. Now that would be an interesting statistic and these major universities would not want published. Don’t think they would be looking so prestigious then

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  4. I’ve been following this scandal because it rings true to me. Both as a college student who saw less qualified wealthy kids admitted to my university and as a grown-up with friends who manipulate their kids to make sure that their progeny makes them look good. It all sucks.

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  5. I don’t know the percentage of students who knew what their parents were doing, but quite a few did and that bothers me as these kids are growing up thinking that having money will get you what you want, which sadly is true. As far as what these kids are thinking about their parents views on their performance I couldn’t say. As my son received his Master’s degree from one of these schools I can say that I am angry. I don’t think it sullies his degree but maybe it doesn’t hold the cache it used to? His career is not a high paying one so I am sure most people would not cheat to get into it.

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  6. Interestingly, my daughter (who just graduated from college last year) instantly felt sorry for the kids who were going to be embarrassed by the situation. My first thought was that the kids wanted their parents to do it for them. Then we saw the article about “Aunt Becky’s” daughter who only wanted to go for the partying and sponsor endorsements. Sad.

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  7. Great topic. I think the scandal lies in the mess of parenting these days. Many people want to save their kids from failure or feeling badly and so they do the unthinkable because they are striving to not have their kids learn these valuable life lessons. But that’s life. Full of lessons that don’t feel good sometimes, but make us grow because of them. I was shocked by the scandal myself. I can’t even begin to imagine doing that (nor having the funds to do that). My kids have been told that they earn the grades given and their efforts are rewarded by merit, not by persuasion of any sort. Do the work, earn the grades or don’t. Choice is theirs. I am not a helicopter mom by any means, but I can be a good nag. LOL

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  8. I know the Yale soccer coach, so this whole thing really hits close to home. There is so much money being thrown at these universities and colleges that I think the coaches wanted in on the action. Sad, but true. And it speaks to the overall obsession with parents, their kids and where they’re going to college, as if it’s an endorsement of their parenting skills.

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    1. I. Going to go into excruciating detail about this whole sometime in the next two weeks. And I’m reserving any comment in take till Friday….


  9. Will look forward to your further thoughts on this. It’s hard to know if the kids were totally innocent and hurt by this, or if it was just business as usual in rich-person-land, to their way of thinking.

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  10. Oh my goodness!
    I kept saying things like: What about these kids? Now they know their parents don’t trust them to handle life. That money and prestige are more valuable than tenacity and hard work.
    But that’s the early childhood educator in me.
    The alternative could easily be that these kids are just as spoiled and entitled as they were raised to be, and they had little hissy fits until their parents made things happen with their money and prestige.
    Either way, these kids are a mess, and it’s not entirely their fault, the have no control over the way they were raised.
    Of course, it occurs to me that it doesn’t seem like anything new. These kind of things have been happening since the beginning of higher education.

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    1. You’re right this. No matter how you look at it, these kids are a mess. And unfortunately, none of it’s new. But I still can’t help but feel for the kids.

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  11. You make a really good point at the end about what the message this gives the children. And yeah, we all know this sort of thing happens, but it doesn’t stop it being infuriating. That said, I’m glad at least some people have been exposed for engaging in these practices (99% of people that bribe their way into college get away with it).
    Anyway, good luck to your daughter!

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  12. That’s the first thing I thought, too. I wasn’t shocked that parents were bribing officials, as people have been giving/taking bribes throughout history, even though I am morally against any sort of bribe. But I did wonder how it made the kids feel to know their parents did that. Maybe they were grateful at the moment, as it got them what they wanted, but deep down, they had to know their parents didn’t trust them to get in on their own. And now they’ll never know what they could have accomplished on their own, without their parent’s money and lack of scruples.

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    1. I truly think that half of the kids were truly innocent…that they had no idea what there parents did. As for the others….well….who knows. But in the end, kids suffer


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