Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Got $$$? We got the college — Admissions scandal: a new outrage but old news

    By Isis Piccillo/Tower Staff Writer

    Tower Staff Writer Isis Piccillo

    The overwhelming response I’ve observed from the recent college admissions scandal is that many are appalled, but few are surprised.

    Of course rich people are bribing and cheating the system. This is nothing new.

    Perhaps the viral outrage stems from the methods. These bribes exist outside the traditional bribery system. These parents didn’t start a scholarship or donate a building, and they aren’t relying on legacy.

    Perhaps paying off coaches or test-takers is closer to “getting your hands dirty.” Direct bribery isn’t particularly elegant or subtle.

    Increased scrutiny of the admissions process, however, is a positive outcome of this scandal.

    The American education system, for all its reputation, is a flawed behemoth. The unbelievably high cost of tuition alone requires its own opinion column rant.

    A subtler process of bribery begins when some students are denied access to resources because of an inability to pay. We might not even count this as bribery, but it is still using money to buy assistance that will help a student get into college.

    Students from financially comfortable families enjoy access to a crucial support system: early childhood preparation through pre-school, after-school enrichment such as sports teams and music lessons, private tutoring, and college counselors. All of these, throughout childhood and adolescence, can minimize the need for direct bribery in the applications themselves.

    The preparation imbalance positions students of limited means at a distinct disadvantage before college applications even begin. In fact, the cost of applying to schools can be prohibitive. Applying to a University of California school costs $70. Applying to Stanford costs $90.

    Universities and colleges should use this opportunity to reflect on their values. What do you want your students to bring to the table?

    Will you prioritize student with diverse interests to promote interdisciplinary learning? Strong extracurriculars to emphasize the importance of applying their education? Thoughtful and intellectual students who will drive groundbreaking research?

    Perhaps, to the surprise of few, the main priority for institutions of higher education is admitting students who bring money.

    An overhaul of the college admissions system is long overdue. But for students already in a college programs, consider my friend’s takeaway from her own experience with higher education. Her entire undergraduate career was plagued by fears of inadequacy — not smart enough, not gifted enough, not hard-working enough.

    But now we know who truly doesn’t belong.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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