Insecure parents across the country have been gifted a new scapegoat they can blame their child's shortcomings on: the admissions scandal cheaters. And this Thursday, they may need it - that marks the day that tens of thousands of prospective new students will hear from Ivy League schools like Harvard, Yale and Princeton about admission, according to Bloomberg.
On Friday, one day later, many of the 33 parents charged in the scandal will wind up in federal court in Boston for their first appearance related to the scandal. They should be able to avoid serving jail time if they plead guilty, according to lawyers.
Liz Pleshette, a former Columbia University admissions officer and director of college counseling at the private Latin School of Chicago said: "Families have been overvaluing some smoke and mirrors. The wizard has been revealed behind the curtain."
Kyle Schoeneborn, an 18-year-old senior awaiting word from the University of Pennsylvania said: “It might end up being an excuse for a lot of people to say, ‘Oh, I didn’t get into my dream school because this is going on or my parents didn’t pay $50 million to get recruited to a certain sports team.’’’ And in light of recent events, his hyperbole is not that far off...
It is becoming more difficult to get into Ivy League schools like Yale. Data shows that the university accepted 22% of applicants in the early 1980s versus 6.3% last year. This has been a result of students being able to apply electronically, which has increased the number of applications per student. Students who submitted seven or more applications increased to 35% in 2016, compared to 10% in 1995.
Ivy League schools are also targeted because they provide the most financial aid, and the cost of college has risen "far faster than inflation". Parents also see the Ivy League as a way to preserve the prestige of their family's name and financial position "at the top". Ten years after leaving college, Harvard students had a median annual income of $89,700 compared to the State University of New York, where it was $61,600.
This leg-up has led parents to push their children into activities and sports in a race to get an edge for admissions.
Meanwhile, Lisa Damour, a psychologist in the Cleveland suburb of Beachwood, said that the admissions scandal is actually psychologically healthy for students. It helps them see that rejection isn't their fault. “It’s not all bad for the curtain to be pulled back,’’ she said. The mother of one student, Cailee Olitt, who finished in the top 5% of her class, has played soccer for 4 years, edits the school's newspaper and scored a 1570 out of 1600 on her SATs, was aghast when her daughter was still deferred from Duke.
“Sadly there’s not much we can do when people are accepting bribes. You just hope for the best for our kids and they’ll get seen for all their hard work and rewarded for doing it the right way,’’ her mom, Dari, said.
Cailee is still waiting to hear from Brown and has been accepted to Tulane, Emory and the University of Virginia.