College Admission Scandal: Ipswich’s Reaction


Jackson Filosa

Photo-shopped pictures, doctored test scores, corrupt coaches, and massive bribes only scratch the surface of the dishonest and despicable behavior that was made public to the world in the breaking of the largest college admissions scandal in history. As competition and stress levels skyrocket throughout the nation, William “Rick” Singer decided to capitalize on the desperation of the super wealthy to get their children into the most “elite” universities. Accepting over $25 million in bribes, Singer pulled strings and cut corners, using every underhanded tactic at his disposal to ensure that his clients’ children would get in to the top schools in the nation. His strategies included paying exam proctors to fake standardized test scores, bribing university coaches to influence the admissions department, and faking athletic credentials for students. These activities began in 2011, and since then Singer’s clients, who include the children of Hollywood stars and top CEOs, have been accepted into places such as USC, UCLA, Stanford, Georgetown, Yale, and Wake Forest. Along with the rest of the country, Ipswich High School was hit hard by the breaking scandal.

“I was very disappointed when I heard [about the college admissions scandal],” said senior Jacob Eliopoulos, who will be attending the University of Maryland next year. “I put a lot of work into my college applications and throughout high school in general, and it is frustrating to hear that some people have been cheating the system all along.” Jacob echoes the sentiments of many other Ipswich seniors who threw up their hands when they heard about the gross inequality of the process. In a society where we have been told that hard work and dedication are the keys to long term success, it is difficult to hold firm to these beliefs when the exact opposite is being thrown in your face. While most seniors are happy with their plans for the next four years, many have questioned the process that made it possible.

Mrs. Starrett, an Ipswich guidance counselor who worked closely with many seniors throughout the application process, was also disheartened by the news. However, she was not entirely surprised. “I feel like this has been happening for a long time in different ways,” she said. Whether it be through legacy, large donations, or other methods, she said, “…unfortunately people have been paying for their kids to go to college for a long time.” She also emphasized that the process does not have to be this way. “Our goal as counselors is to show students that there is more than one option, and that no one school is the end-all be-all.” An additional solution she proposed was “stressing to kids that it is a very personalized process, and there is no one path to follow.” As the number of students applying to college continues to go up, and certain schools become more and more popular, it is important to heed this advice and remember that what may be the perfect school for one person might not be a good fit for a different student

The actions of Rick Singer and others in the college admissions scandal were disgraceful, and provided a horrible example to all high school students about how to go about achieving your goals. Although all colleges involved have reacted swiftly and decisively to the news, firing coaches who were implicated and reexamining the students that were admitted, the problem stems much deeper than the assortment of morally ambiguous one-percenters represented by the media. The college process should be an exciting time for high-school students looking ahead to the future, and not the root source of all their worries and fears.

Additionally, it is critical that high school students not abandon all hope in the system and cease their hard work, because that is not why they should be working in the first place. At the end of the day, you get out of your high school experience what you put in, and while others may be taking shortcuts along the way, the only people they are really cheating is themselves. So with graduation right around the corner, I have no doubt that Ipswich students will continue their hard work and managing their busy schedules, ignoring the headlines and instead continuing to focus on themselves. Because while some kids may have bought a place at a university with a low acceptance rate, they will have missed out on some of the great things that high school has to offer. Late night study sessions with classmates, competitive sports games and fun bus rides, theatrical productions, class trips, concerts, these are the real things that you get out of high school, beyond just a college admission. Ipswich High School students aren’t doing all these things and more in order to get into college. They are getting involved in order to better themselves, and make the most out of their high school experience. This is something that you cannot put a price on.