As a devoted "Full House" fan, I have to say, I am thoroughly disappointed in seeing Lori Loughlin's participation in the infamous college admission scheme. However, the whole scandal wasn't surprising to me, and I'm sure unethical practices are still being performed in other parts of the globe, due to the highly competitive standard colleges and universities set for general admission.
Operation "Varsity Blues" is quite reminiscent of my senior year in high school, as my peers and I all scrambled to score well on SAT examinations and meet application deadlines. The pressure was intense, partly because I was in a magnet program in which academic competition was commonplace. I clearly remember several of my teachers preaching about the significance of differentiation. How are you going to stand out among the rest? What makes you special enough to attend a certain prestigious college?
We were all encouraged to take up "leadership" positions in clubs and organizations since that will look attractive to college recruiters. Saying that you could speak another language, had traveled out of the country or could play a musical instrument were also strategic anecdotes given by adults. There was also a rumor about a freelance writer who specialized in creating college admission essays for high school students. He or she could whip up a divine personal statement, tailored to your person and respective college, all for a hefty fee.
One evening, as I was finishing up applications, my father walked into my room. "I just got off the phone with a buddy a mine. He's a Harvard recruiter," he said. "They're crazy about French horn players." I looked at him, confused. My father continued. "He said that he will take in anyone, only if they can play the French horn! Regardless of background or test scores!" My father started shaking his head. "What a load of crock!" He stormed out of my room, leaving me stumped.
The sense of desperation to get into a university is at an all-time high. I am glad that the college admission scam is garnering national attention since the amount of effort, financing and mental dedication it requires for someone, with middle to low-class socioeconomic background, to even have a chance of attending a university is exasperating enough. Higher education should be an inspirational pursuit that exemplifies inclusivity, rather than a complex game that can be played only by the most fortunate.