Students should not be selected based on money over merit

Among the millions of high school students who wait patiently for their fate, the question lingers in a student’s brain: will she attend the school she has been dreaming of, that she worked so hard to look good for?

After what seems like an eternity, the results are released. Her hopes are shattered when she gets a rejection letter from her number one school. In her place, a wealthy child attends the school who did not even have to lift a finger to get in. Now, another question lingers: how could this be?

Sadly, people recently used money to compromise a system that is supposed to only assess merit. Rich parents were caught bribing proctors, coaches and college administrators to accept their undeserving children into a variety of prestigious colleges.

As a junior, I am less than a year away from the application frenzy. This scandal is a haunting reminder that my fate can be affected by a corrupt system. After thinking about it, however, I was not surprised that people cheated their way into college.

To some people, fancy colleges can be seen the same way as an expensive car or an ostentatious house. Those who chase after shiny things tend to let their materialistic motivations blind them and take over their moral compass, which in turn causes things like the college cheating scandal.

By getting their child into a highly selective college, these parents are attempting to fill in a void in their lives with their child’s (false) achievements. It must be humiliating when every publication on the web exposes them for being frauds. Oh well. They can cry into their bags of money.

This is not the first time money has been used immorally. Donald Trump cheated on his wife and payed off the porn star he had an affair with. Back in the day, Michael Jackson bought a ranch for millions of dollars where he molested children. With an excess amount of money comes a great deal of corruption. It is nothing new.

The worst part of this situation is that it makes prestigious schools less prestigious. If anyone can pay their way in, can the college still be considered selective? The devaluing of these schools is unfortunate because there is less pride in the accomplishments of students who genuinely worked hard to get there.

Now, I wonder how many people have successfully gotten away with a college degree from a school they did not deserve to attend. Who are the real scholars, and who are the frauds?

In an email sent out by Princeton Review, it claims that “Three million students apply to college each year, and the overwhelming majority gain admission fair and square, not by cheating…they do the work…And it works!”

This email was reassuring, but imagine how frustrating it would be for a cheater to take your spot at your dream school. They live in what would have your dorm, go to parties you would have gone to and get the education that you dreamed about without putting in half the amount of work that you did. What a nightmare.

What we have to remember as students is that we are not law enforcement or members of the college admissions board; therefore there is nothing we can do about those who cheat. Yes, it affects us, but stressing out about something out of our control is harmful to our mental health.

The best we can do is apply to the colleges we love and let the chips fall where they may. This scandal could be a blessing in disguise because it emphasized how important it is to keep a close eye on college admissions. Ideally, there will be a better system in the future for catching those criminals before it is too late.

Colleges really need to step up their game when it comes to letting truthfully deserving students into their schools. Letting in cheaters is cheapening their name as a college and will have an impact on how many people apply in the future. If this corruption continues, prestigious colleges will lose their popularity and less competitive colleges will become more selective.

Above anything, admissions should be truthful. As a future college student, I can only hope that corruption within college admissions will fade over time and the students who are admitted to top notch colleges actually earn their way in, not through money but through hard work.