American universities may tout their 'holistic approach,' but what goes on inside admissions offices is entirely different.
As I'm sure you know by now, nearly 50 people, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, were arrested for participating in the largest college bribery admissions scandal ever prosecuted in the country. They were accused of everything bribing SAT and ACT test proctors to photoshop their kids' images to seem that they play sports so that they can be recruited to elite colleges. This scheme got their kids into colleges like Yale, Stanford, University of Southern California, and Georgetown. And, honestly, are we surprised?
It comes with no doubt that the main concern of all American universities' when viewing applications are, will he or she be able to pay tuition? You can have the grades, the extracurriculars, and the scores, but if you don't have the money, you're just not good enough.
As someone who has attended multiple college admissions sessions, I've heard the phrase "we view applications on a holistic basis" a countless amount of times. American universities claim that take in every part of one's application into consideration before making a decision, but it is not a coincidence that the majority of students at these elite colleges come from affluent backgrounds.
An anonymous college admissions officer even stated that "the longer that I read applications, the more holes I saw in the so-called 'holistic' process and the more I discovered how much it came down to money." The officer went on to say that she's seen her fellow colleagues blatantly admit a student that "fell far below their clear outline admissions requirements" because the student was "heir to a popular processed-meat company's fortune."
Perhaps the reason that admission officers are so reluctant to admit affluent students than they are a student whose grades and resume are outstanding is that when it comes down to it, the American education system is a business more than it is anything else. At the end of the day, colleges want to make money. They may tout their mission to create a brighter future or a more inclusive society, but what goes on inside the admissions offices is entirely different.