Milford Students Weigh in on the College Admissions Scandal


GETTY; Brion Vibber/Wikimedia

Lori Laughlin, actress who played Aunt Becky in Full House, with her daughter, Olivia Jade

Amelia Valente , Staff Writer

As Milford High School seniors prepare to receive notifications from colleges and make decisions about plans after high school, recent news has brought to light the largest college admissions cheating scam in American history.

Lori Loughlin, who played Aunt Becky in Full House, and Felicity Huffman, most known for her role in Desperate Housewives, are only two of the many individuals involved in this immense scandal.

Approximately fifty people were involved in the nearly twenty five million dollar bribes of SAT and ACT proctors, college coaches, and admissions counselors to get their kids into prestigious and competitive universities like USC, Georgetown, Stanford, and Yale.

In most cases their children lacked the qualifications, standardized test scores or athletic ability to gain admission on their own merits. Loughlin even went as far as to lie on her daughter’s official college application about extracurriculars, Photoshopping her daughter’s face onto pictures of athletes to secure a spot on the USC crew team. These falsified pictures, along with bribes to college coaches, allowed for students to be accepted and recruited as talented athletes to elite colleges, taking away spots for student-athletes and scholars who have worked hard and deserve to be recognized for their educational achievements and abilities.

Others paid strangers to take the SAT’s for their children, guaranteeing them an almost perfect but undeserved score.

This cheating scandal sends a discouraging message to students whose hard work, academic integrity, and achievements are diminished by a society where dishonest, wealthy individuals can so easily manipulate the college admissions process to their children’s advantage.

Imagine how discouraging it is for a student who pays the SAT fees, potentially takes the test multiple times, and goes through the stressful and time-consuming process of applying to colleges, only to see in recent news that students have been accepted into a prestigious school simply because their parents paid their way in.

I talked to some Milford High School seniors to get their take on this scandal. Senior Jillian Kelley felt that “it was frustrating, especially after seeing my friends get denied from selective schools.”

Jen Wong, also a senior, said “I’m honestly not surprised by it at all…In many cases the rich person gets in simply because they have the money…even if their kids aren’t as smart.”

I also talked to Mrs. Molinari, a guidance counselor at MHS, about how she felt when she learned about the scandal. Mrs. Molinari says, “What is most discouraging about this situation is the pressure it puts on young people and the way it undermines their actual achievements. It sets up this dynamic that places a certain caliber of education as the end-all, be-all and simultaneously tells kids that hard work isn’t what’s going to get you there. It’s unfair.”

I asked Mrs. Molinari if she had advice for students who are going through the college admission process. This is the message she wishes to get across to MHS students:

“My hope is that it doesn’t affect you all going forward. There will always be people that lack integrity in positions of power. There will always be people who cheat or lie or bribe to get what they want. When you see it, vow not to be it. Getting what you want and earning what you want don’t feel that same. What I hope doesn’t happen is that people lose faith in education. Education is a lot more than the name of the school you went to. True education is what lifts us up and helps us build bridges to each other. And you can get a good one, with some motivation, at the library.”