We’ve all got those words, phrases, and sentences that we use all the time. I over-use the word “apparently,” and some quick searches through this blog make me realize I apparently also over-use the phrase “all the time.” But behind the words and sentences that we repeat often are the ideas and worldviews that drive us. So this week I thought I’d explain the thoughts and motives behind some of the sentences I use most in my job as someone who writes about college admissions and advises students on their own admissions paths.
Earlier this week I wrote down my thoughts about the admissions scandal as we know it right now. In that post I argue, among other things, that massive cheating and bribery are not normal. I also argue that major donations to colleges are not actually legal bribes to get sub-par kids into elite schools, despite popular perception. However, popular perception is absolutely correct that elite universities are largely populated by wealthy students. So how do wealthy kids get into elite colleges? Are they, as many people have written in the past two weeks, gaming the system and destroying meritocracy? They are…kind of. Let’s look at some of the ways that wealth plays into college admissions.
An interesting thing happened last Tuesday. 50 people—including a college admissions consultant, SAT and ACT test proctors, university coaches, and wealthy parents—were charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, and racketeering. Here’s a good rundown of all the people involved. This has been big news this week, and I assume you already know about it.
All week, while I’ve been on family vacation for Spring Break, I’ve been reading and thinking about the scandal. What do I want to say to current and prospective clients? To their parents? To Apply with Sanity readers? I have several things I want to say.
So what makes the Ivy League schools so special? A few things. One is that they're old, so they've had a lot more time than many universities to differentiate themselves. Harvard is the oldest college in the U.S., founded in 1636. Cornell is the young one of the league, founded in 1865. The other six were all founded in the 18th century.