College Admissions Scandal Tip of the Iceberg

Reno Gazette Journal March 24, 2019

Federal officials have charged 33 wealthy parents ranging from actresses to CEOs for working with a consultant, who fabricated academic and athletics credentials, and arranged bribes to school officials and test-takers, which helped in getting their children accepted into prestigious universities. While this charge has generated substantial media attention, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are approximately 20 million students enrolled in universities in the US and 33 is just a miniscule number. Cheating is never acceptable, and those who cheated should be punished, but the broader issue here is the admission of unqualified and under-qualified students into educational institutions.

Take, for instance, the recent lawsuit against Harvard. According to the analysis, Asian-American applicants who get accepted score an average of 25 points higher than white applicants, 217 points higher than African-American applicants and 153 points higher than Hispanic applicants in SAT. Harvard’s own internal report examining over 200,000 applicants over a decade showed that admissions using pure academics would result in an African-American acceptance rate of 0.67% while the actual acceptance rate of African-Americans was 10.46% (the numbers are 2.42% and 9.46%, respectively, for Hispanics). Had Harvard used academics as the criteria, the acceptance rate for Asian-Americans would have been 43.04% instead of the actual 18.66%.

While Harvard is just an example, most, if not all, college and university diversity programs invariably show preference to candidates from certain ethnicities. It may not be an issue until you realize that colleges have limited number of seats every year. If there is preference for certain ethnicities, that comes at the expense of other ethnicities. In the case of Harvard, acceptance letters to African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians who had lower academic scores have come at the expense of rejection letters to Asian-Americans with better academic scores.

The broader question is, is racism in America holding certain ethnicities back to an extent where there needs to be countermeasures like affirmative action to compensate for that bias? If racism is running rampant in this country, why do we ask people to check a box to indicate their race? If racism is a bias against non-Caucasians to a point where they cannot be successful, then why is it that Asian-Americans and Jewish-Americans are academically (and financially) the most successful ethnicities in this country?

Unfortunately, race is not the only bias exhibited by educational institutions like Harvard. Harvard recently admitted David Hogg, the gun control activist from Parkland, despite his low SAT score of 1270 while rejecting many with a perfect score of 1600. The bottom 25% of students admitted to Harvard had an average score of 1460. Apparently, liberal activism is one of the tickets to admission to Harvard. I wonder if Covington Catholic’s Nick Sandmann (who was involved in the incident at the Lincoln Memorial) will be welcome with such open arms at Harvard. I hope he is not holding his breath!

One final point: Unqualified and under-qualified students are admitted by the millions into our universities every year. For admissions to be fair, we need to go beyond the 33 who cheated. While universities proudly proclaim their ethnic diversity, what you don’t see is the SAT scores and GPA of those ethnic groups next to their enrollment percentages. Admissions of unqualified and under-qualified students in the name of diversity comes at the expense of others who are better qualified and, while politically correct and sanctioned by the government, is still unfair to those who are deprived of the opportunity despite their superior qualifications.