When I was in junior high and high school, I attended a college prep school where absolutely no grades were handed out for free. The teachers and administration made it very clear from the start that if you wanted to achieve excellent grades and get accepted to the best universities in the nation, you had to earn it. I took this advice very much to heart, and for the entirety of my career at that school, I worked my tail off, sacrificing decent nights' sleep to finish my assignments perfectly, spending countless hours working on my college applications and standardized tests, sacrificing many Saturday mornings to attend classes on how to take the SATs and ACTs and to take the tests themselves, and threw myself into extra-curricular activities to build the best resumé possible.
When I made the decision to attend Grand Canyon University, I constantly worked with my high school representative on getting as many scholarships as I could to get the best opportunities possible. And in my senior year of high school, I had an interview for a full-tuition scholarship to the Honors College at GCU the week before Christmas, and two representatives from the Honors College offered me the scholarship at the interview itself. Naturally, I accepted, and I left the interview room praising God and thanking Him greatly because all my hard work for the past six years had paid off. I had never felt so happy about my accomplishments in my life.
This morning, March 12, 2019, dozens of people, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, ACT and SAT administrators, coaches from elite universities, and even several parents were found guilty of a massive college admissions scam. Many colleges involved in the scheme were among some of the most prestigious in America, including Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and USC. The people involved in this act provided students with answers to the SATs and ACTs, photoshopping student athletes' faces onto professional athletes' bodies for applications, and correcting students' answers after they finished the exams. To quote the FBI, "In many instances, the students taking the exams were unaware that their parents had arranged for this cheating."
That doesn't make the situation any better, especially when it seems like some of the students didn't even care about going to college in the first place.
As a prep school graduate, this makes me so very angry. Other hard-working students lost their spots at these prestigious universities because another student cheated or bought their way into them. My classmates and I all worked so unbelievably hard during our high school careers to earn acceptance letters to universities like Yale and Stanford, and we understood the value of achieving a goal that we first thought was impossible. Universities like that are what every hard-working and driven student dreams of, and I cannot even begin to understand why anyone would wish to discount the value of earning something amazing without any hand-outs.
To all the people involved in this scheme, I really and truly hope you come to the realization that nothing in life that is worth anything comes for free. You have robbed so many students of the lesson of hard work and of the joy of accomplishing something as amazing as getting accepted to the Ivy League. I am proud of all the work I accomplished in high school, and it greatly saddens me that there are students out there who will never get this opportunity because someone else cheated for them to get it.