University Admission and Aid in US controversial and questionable after parents get indicted

Anyone who has gone through college admission and aid process in US have experienced strange characteristics that cannot be explained with simple logic. Recent indictments of several parents who opted for criminal activities to get their children into prestigious colleges and universities in US show how corrupt and biased the process is. In recent days more than fifty people in US have been charged in bribery and cheating scams.

Some parents tried to get their children admitted in prestigious universities by making contributions in a sham charity run by William “Rick” Singer a college counselor. According to prosecutors parents paid as much as $75,000 to singer to have fake people take SAT and ACT tests. Professional test takers were hired to take these test and score super high scores.

Students got into these universities in athletic quota without ever participating ever in school as part of that athletics event. For example, someone may get admitted for the rowing team without ever ever rowed before. This pure scam and corruption at the highest level.

The problem is deep rooted in US society. It has larger impact on Indian communities living in US. In 2016, Naresh Singh joined a country club in New York. Acceptability of Naresh in the elite country club became easier when people came to know his daughter is studying in a prestigious university in West Coast where “rich” kids dream to go.

In US it has become a status symbol to have kids study in prestigious universities. In many cases these kids get into a prestigious college and then end up graduating with below 2.5 grade point average which does not qualify for an entrance into graduate studies.

There are scores of mushroom companies that have come up that can “assist” in getting student admitted in their dream colleges and universities. They “know” the techniques to beat the system by hook or crook. Indian diaspora is a victim of this apparent scam that is taking America by surprise.

The change needs to come from these colleges and universities. Rutgers University, a state university in NJ bases its decision on admission and aids primarily on SAT scores. Can SAT score and GPA in High School really tell everything about the ability of a student? Stanford, Harvard, and other prestigious schools accept donations from rich parents that may influences admission decisions. The admission process is based on very subjective issues and tack of transparency and audit trail makes it not only biased any also may be corrupt. Recent indictments and scandals in the admission process testifies the seriousness of the problem.

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