Last summer, we held weekly “brownbag” discussions every Friday after work. The discussion centered around controversial topics in education such as affirmative action and school uniforms. We kicked off this summer’s series last Friday where we discussed the recent college admissions scandal.
About two months ago, several celebrities (along with other affluent parents) were accused of bribing officials to influence admissions into prestigious colleges for their children. We discussed the entire admissions process and whether it is a fair assessment or indicator of one’s success in college. Participants highlighted that athletes and other people get preferential treatment when it comes to admissions. For many students, college is a life-changing opportunity. Since the families caught up in the scandal are wealthy, they already have an advantage in terms of providing additional learning support to their children. Therefore, the scandal was seen by some participants as a case of the rich and powerful using their influence to further get ahead.
We also agreed that college is not just about the diploma but represents social standing. A college degree from a prestigious institution is a bastion of social status anywhere in the world. We also discussed meritocracy and how it's constantly ignored. It's worth noting that affluent families, through legacy and donations, can influence admission decisions without breaking the law. One could argue if we want to make the system fair, everyone would be considered on the same status prior applications. How do we make the admissions process fair and representative of all students?