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Perspective: The Real Admissions Scandal

The college admissions process is broken.  


I am not talking about the recent pay-to-play scandal that has dominated the headlines. I am talking about deeper, systemic problems that the scandal unearthed and exposed.  


I am the parent of a high school senior, and I have been learning about the admissions process for close to two years now. We are not celebrities; we are not rich. But we did have the means to get my kid into a good college preparatory high school. We were able to pay for test prep and afford several opportunities at the SAT and ACT. And we had the education and time to work with our child on the application essays.  


At the time this was happening, it never occurred to me that we were privileged. But we are. My son did well and will have a number of good options. But many of his classmates and colleagues from other schools do not have this luxury. And they are, by all objective measures, just as accomplished and capable as my child. The difference is not academic aptitude or ability. The difference is social and economic status.  


If we learn anything from the recent scandal, it is that those who have these privileges have opportunities most families do not. And the myth of a meritocracy is just that. It is a myth. As George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm: “All pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal.” This is the true scandal.  


I’m David Gunkel and that's my perspective. 



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