A Rigged College Admissions System

By: Armstrong Williams

The whole college admissions system is rigged. It is rigged to give preferences to disadvantaged black students. Rigged to give preferences to athletes. Rigged to give preferences to people who can donate $20 million to the school and have a building blazing with their name.

What is a parent who loves their child to do? I’m not justifying their behavior, but I understand it. If you love your kid, wouldn’t you do anything for them? And when you look at a system that is so clearly rigged, why wouldn’t you do what you can?

My bet is that 98 percent of the people involved are upper middle class white people. Their children are great. Scholars. Athletes. Involved in the community. But now, parents know that’s not enough. With all of the places reserved for black students, for Hispanics, for the children of Trustees—there are very very few places left for a high performing white student who is not a genius or an elite athlete. These parents merely sought a preference for their kids.

Think about this. Being on the Board of Trustees and giving $20 million and talking to the college admissions officer about your kid or a friend’s kid is legal. Being a black student with lower test scores and getting in is legal. Being Hispanic and having lower test scores but writing an essay about the prejudice your family faced and playing to the sympathies of the admissions committee is legal. All of it tries to play to getting a special advantage in admissions. And all of it is legal. But this—this was clearly illegal. It is not justifiable. It is wrong. But for anyone who has ever loved their child—it is understandable.

Everyone knows the system is rigged. So let’s unrig it. Make all of the admissions completely blind. No names. No gender information. No race information. No contact allowed between rich connected donors and college admissions officers. What these parents did was wrong. But the rigging of the system is much much deeper than a few parents paying to get their kids an unfair advantage. |