Legacy students, legal bribery?


Angela Canales, Reporter, Photgorapher

Recently, 50 people found themselves charged in the result of a nationwide scheme that involved wealthy families bribing prestigious colleges into accepting their children. Authorities also charged the parents with buying services for other people to take their children’s standardized tests, such as the SAT and the ACT for high, competitive scores. With these kids’ grade point averages and test scores well below the typical margin of acceptance for colleges such as UCLA, USC, and Yale, it becomes evident why the wealthy would use their power and money to buy their children a path to even more success and credibility.  

While the 50 convicts, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, faced legal charges and criticism amid the college admissions scandal, plenty of other wealthy families have done the same thing; legally.

For decades, admissions offices at a significant amount America’s elite schools have guaranteed admission to those students whose parents have made large donations to their colleges and universities. Due to universities’ lack of funding from states and the federal government, they have become heavily reliant on such donations, which practically places admissions offices in the position to compensate the wealthy contributor by admitting their child into the college.

Donations made typically vary, but generally, stay within the million dollar range when it comes to highly selective schools. While bribing and cheating your child into a top university costs much less and comes with legal consequences, it enforces the same idea that money can buy admission into an elite university, no matter the academic statistics that the student holds.

This action that puts the children of the rich at yet another advantage in life demonstrates how classism and socioeconomic power rule in American society. While a hard working, straight-A, heavily involved student with high test scores devotes their high school journey to gain admission into one of the nation’s top schools, their place could easily become put up for auction by America’s small cluster of wealth.

Another advantage of the wealthy and privileged in the college admissions process causes colleges to “take a second look” at a student’s application and potential: legacy students. Legacy admissions at certain schools could make up from ten to twenty-five percent of the student body, favoring the children of alumni. Some of America’s top, most prestigious colleges tend to put legacy students first, such as Harvard and USC.

Advantages such as these become easy ways the wealthy and privileged buy their ways to the top of society, once again. No matter the legality of the process, the ethicality of it defines how the ruling class will stay at the top for a long time, giving the honest and hardworking a run for their money.  They continue to demean what it means to be a hard worker and “self-made”: key aspects that make up the idea of an American Dream.