By: Isabelle Mokotoff
The college admission is a daunting process for any student, even the most capable and mature teen. Applying to college is made more doable with aid from tutors, college counselors, and up-to-date school supplies. However, when considering that some students have severe monetary limitations and must work after school to ensure economic stability for themselves and their families, seeking a higher education progresses from an onerous task to a nearly-impossible fantasy..
The frustration that many students in lower socioeconomic communities feel on a daily basis was heightened when the news of a college admissions scandal spread like wildfire throughout mass media. Orchestrated by William Singer, this scandal revolved around numerous wealthy parents paying Singer copious amounts of money to forge standardized testing scores and report impressive extracurricular accomplishments so that competitive colleges would accept their children. This being the case, the children involved in this scandal were prioritized above other students, and many students belonging to lower class communities “had their sights set on some of the same schools that wealthy parents are accused of using bribes to get their children into” (Eligon).
The Singer Scandal was a harsh wake-up call to high achieving students who are financially less fortunate. It sends a message to today’s young adults – aristocracy holds a greater weight in the college admissions process than meritocracy.
This topic clearly sparked outrage, and for good reason: In essence, this scandal confirms the long-believed notion that children will receive a metaphorical “leg up” in society purely because they were born into wealth.
Garnering a perspective from students on the national level, The New York Times talked to senior Khiana Jackson of Ewing Marion Kauffman High School in Kansas City. At Ewing Marion Kauffman, ninety percent of the students receive free or reduced lunch. Jackson confided in a New York Times reporter, professing that “It’s frustrating that people are able to obtain their opportunities this way” (Eligon). Many of Jackson’s peers are deeply upset that college acceptance is decided by factors out of their hands. They share a rightfully indignant mentality: the tireless hours of work put into acquiring the ideal higher education by numerous lower-class students may prove futile while the richest few can effortlessly glide through the system.
As a result, many are calling for a panacea to fix the corrupt process. While a myriad of promising ideas to implement into our nation’s colleges have been floating around, need-blind acceptance and stronger affirmative action programs to name a few, one thing is for sure: it is the vehement displeasure in today’s youth which will ensure a change in tomorrow’s education system.