The College Admissions Scandal: Parents Must Teach Their Children to Earn Their Success

by The Cowl Editor on March 21, 2019


Like most colleges and universities, the University of
Southern California uses the Common Application. Laura Chadbourne ’20/The Cowl.

by Emily Ball ’22

Opinion Staff


SATs, ACTs, college essays—all of these things are crucial aspects of the college admissions process. Although this time can be stressful, the outcome is usually rewarding and well-deserved—an admission to one’s future college. However, for certain students with wealthy parents, the outcome was neither rewarding nor well-deserved.

Recently, dozens of celebrities and wealthy parents were revealed to have taken part in an illegal college scandal. “[The scandal] involved either cheating on standardized tests or bribing college coaches and school officials to accept students as college athletes—even if the student had never played that sport,” said Holly Yan from CNN.

The schools involved in the scandal included top-tier universities such as Yale University, Stanford University, Georgetown University, The University of Southern California, and The University of California Los Angeles.

Some argue that the students are as much to blame as the parents; however, many of the students were unaware of their parents’ involvement in this illegal activity.

For the kids—those who allegedly were unaware of their parents’ actions—this scandal takes away from their feelings of accomplishment and success and unfairly teaches them that they do not need to put in hard work to succeed. 

“I am upset that I was unknowingly involved in a large scheme that helps give kids who may not work as hard as others an advantage over those who truly deserve those spots,” said Jack Buckingham, son of youth-marketing expert Jane Buckingham.

“[Jack] did not know his mother allegedly paid a $50,000 bribe to have another student take his ACT college-entrance exam,” Julie Miller from Vanity Fair said.

The children that were unaware of this scandal are punished in two ways: their reputations are sullied, and they are hindered from feeling deserved recognition for their own efforts and individual hard work.

For one student, Olivia Jade Giannulli, her YouTube career and partnership with big brands are destroyed due to this scandal in which her mother, Full House actress Lori Loughlin, allegedly paid over $500,000 to have her daughters admitted into USC.

A Sephora spokesperson told CBS News, “After careful review of recent developments, we have made the decision to end the Sephora Collection partnership with Olivia Jade, effective immediately.”

Students should walk away from their college experience feeling proud that all of their hard work paid off. Throughout high school, most parents encourage their children to put in enough effort and work in order to accomplish their goals. For these students involved in the scandal, their parents are not teaching them the lesson that hard work pays off.

Litigator and crisis-management expert William M. Moran advises the students involved in the scandal to get “themselves a hardworking, regular job—as a waitress, waiter, something where they get an idea of what real work is, and then start over.” 

Moran’s advice replicates what good parents would tell their child—to work hard in order to feel accomplished. These children were never told that they need to earn their recognition, which is unfair and detrimental to their development as young adults.