A different take on the college admission scandal

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The ongoing college admission scandal at the University of Southern California, Georgetown, and other universities has exposed the hypocrisy of some of the elites in our society. The story has been reported widely, but I want to address two angles that I’m not hearing discussed elsewhere.

First, college admission decisions should be as clear and objective as possible, but many institutions also consider ethnicity and other factors in the interest of campus diversity. This practice is discriminatory because it denies admission to some applicants whose previous academic performance and test scores should have been strong enough in favor of other applicants because of factors unrelated to ability. By reinforcing the notion that admissions criteria should extend beyond individual merit, it creates an environment where some might get involved with corrupt pay-for-play scenarios and even allow some applicants to buy their way into the university. I understand the argument for diversity and appreciate a broad mix of students on campus but including non-performance criteria in application decisions is unjust and should stop.

Second, parents who sought to circumvent the admissions process by cheating on exams apparently believe their kids should have no problem succeeding in classes alongside peers with stronger academic backgrounds. Put another way, they seem to view the college experience as an exercise in credentialing. Faking your way into a school with admissions criteria beyond one’s ability is a recipe for failure. Thomas Sowell documented the problem of race-based admission decisions years ago (see https://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2003/02/07/damaging-admissions-n780078). Suffice to say that getting into a college where your peers will have better academic backgrounds will put you at a competitive disadvantage. But as far as the parents involved in the scandal are concerned, this should not be a problem. To the extent they are wrong, they are hurting their own kids by pushing them beyond their abilities. To the extent they are correct, the entire academic establishment should be called into question.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. RZZ  •  Apr 4, 2019 @8:12 PM

    The first point should make sense to anyone. The second point is one I didn’t think about. Loughlin and Huffman must have no respect for a college education.

  2. jerry  •  Apr 4, 2019 @9:02 PM

    this is a real scam. they have a lot of gall. they should have known they’d be caught.

  3. Nick_B  •  Apr 5, 2019 @6:13 PM

    A huge scam but I think the universities deserved it.

  4. Nick_B  •  Apr 6, 2019 @7:25 AM

    …and JP is right. The entire university system has some blame here. Do the right thing and admit only the best students. Let diversity happen naturally. create a culture again any meddling with the system which should be based on academic performance only.

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