Endowment = Bribery

Let’s face it, when donors endow coaches, their children get into highly selective colleges. Endowment=Bribery. The recent college admissions scandal just exposed the sloppy and desperate parents who went overboard to cheat and bribe coaches and admissions officers. But we need to stop looking away and deal with the elephant in the room. College admissions officers collude with coaches as they consider which students to admit every year.

According to Michael Dannenberg at the think tank Education Reform Now, wrote:

"Yale should recognize just how complicit it is in a corrupt admissions system. Yale and other elite schools implicated in the national college admission scandal want to portray themselves as victims, but really they’re co-conspirators. These implicit quid pro quo arrangements and tilted playing field admissions policies like the legacy preference and early decision don’t reward achievement, don’t promote diversity and are profoundly unfair. If just one member of Congress would force a vote on this issue, we could clean up a lot of the underlying corruption in elite college admissions."

Student athletes need to have academic skills that are comparable to other students. When student athletes take precious seats that other students could have filled, it’s not fair. I remember one of my students commenting on how she could take classes with the Stanford jocks to get an easy A because they had tutors and took their exams in hotels while traveling for games. Let’s make college about learning with peers who all got in based on their own merits.



UC TAG Deadline for Transfers

TAG applications Sept 1-30 for Fall Transfers; May 1-31 for Spring Transfers

Students interested in applying to a UC as a junior transfer must complete their Transfer Admissions Guarantee application by September 30th.  Six UC campuses offer guaranteed admission to students from all California Community Colleges.

Here are the basic requirements and information:

  1. Must be transferring directly from a California community college.
  2. Must have 30 semester (45 quarter) UC-transferable units
  3. Must not have a bachelor’s or graduate degree
  4. Must not have attended a UC
  5. Must fulfill all remaining coursework and GPA requirements designated on the TAG
  6. Must also apply for admission between November 1-30 (in addition to the TAG application)
  7. Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz offer TAGs



How to Avoid Red Flags for College Admissions

College admission officers read thousands – literally – of applications each year so they have seen all kinds of interesting scenarios. They carefully review applications looking for students who will add something unique to their incoming freshman class. However, there are 4 red flags that raise eyebrows in the admissions office, and if your application falls into these piles, make sure you explain the situation in your essays, on the application form, or in an interview.

#1: GPA and SAT/ACT scores don’t match.
Colleges expect students with high GPAs to do well on their SAT/ACT, and likewise, those with low GPAs to have low SAT/ACT scores. But when a student has a high GPA with really low SAT/ACT scores, they’ll wonder why.

#2: Attended more than 2 high schools
Colleges wonder if a student who bounces from school to school will continue that pattern once they’re admitted to college. When students transfer to new schools mid semester, admissions officers may be concerned about student behavior and stability.

#3: Minimal or too many extracurricular activities.
College is a social institution and students are encouraged to join clubs, athletic teams, and/or the arts. When student resumes are thin, admissions officers may wonder why. On the other hand, students who claim to be president of 4 clubs, MVP of 3 sports, and work 20 hours per week, raise red flags because it’s impossible to dedicate quality time to that many activities.

#4: Essays sound too good to be true.
College application essays are expected to be written by teenagers, not 50-something adults. When essays are written with a sophisticated philosophy (one developed over decades), admissions officers know that parents or tutors have heavily edited or even written them. Sometimes jargon, descriptions, and even dated metaphors are dead giveaways that the essays were not written by the students themselves.

If your application raises red flags, you won’t be admitted. So, explain any ambiguous situations to avoid the reject pile. Just read your application with fresh eyes before you submit it, and if you find areas where your response did not satisfy the question, call the admissions office to inquire about how to present your circumstances.  They’ll appreciate your honesty and sincere interest in getting in.

Good luck! If you need help with your college applications, we’re here to help


USC Most Affected By College Admissions Scandal

USC, or the University of Spoiled Children – also known as University of Southern California – is now known to as being the most afflicted by the college admissions scandal.  According to E-Poll Market research, USC’s “dislike score” jumped from 26 (2016) to 40 (2019); and their “appeal score” dropped from 24 to 16 during the same period.

Also mired in the same scandal are Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, but their ratings didn’t tank the way USC’s did.  Hope this is a wakeup call for colleges and universities. Level the playing field and admit students based on their merit, not their parents’ deep pockets.



Measles and Mumps in College Dorms

College dorms, classrooms, and dining halls can be cesspools of germs and viruses. Students share drinks and hygiene isn’t always a priority – hence, remember dorm bathrooms the morning after Saturday night parties? Combine college lifestyles with students who have skipped their “shots” and you have mumps outbreaks like the kind that Temple University saw last month.

Although mumps and measles were completely eradicated, college campuses are seeing an uptick in sporadic outbreaks. Rather than recite a long list of facts and statistics to encourage everyone to get their “shots,” I thought that I’d share photos of people with mumps and measles. Seriously, why would anyone think that a shot is worse than this!



Watch Out Harvard, Amazon University May Revolutionize Higher Education

There’s a huge gap between what skills colleges teach and what skills employers expect. Colleges were originally designed to provide a liberal art and basic science research education. But today, employers need highly-skilled technical workers, not necessarily college-educated workers. Amazon has taken the bold step to spend $700 million over the next six years to retrain 100,000 employees. With a competitive labor market and more automation, Amazon decided to retrain a third of their employees to strengthen their workforce. Google is doing the same, and they have enrolled 75,000 students in their online IT support certificate program.

Both Amazon and Google are also working with colleges so they can offer credit-bearing courses. Amazon Technical Academy helps technical employees get the skills needed to transition to software engineering careers. Amazon also recently created Machine Learning University, which is designed for tech and coding employees to learn skills in machine learning. They’re opening 60 campus across the country for their Career Choice program, and they’ve partnered with over 800 post-secondary providers in 35 countries to offer cloud computing credentials.

Seems like colleges will either need to step up their programs to teach the skills that employers are seeking, or they’ll become the intellectual liberal arts institutions that they used to be.  Maybe we will start seeing vocational colleges again. Not every high school grad should go to university. I certainly hope so -- too many students are deep in debt for a 4-year degree that they got because they were pressured to “go to college.”



Guess Who Gets Extra Time on the SAT?

25% of rich students who attend wealthy high schools get extra time to take the SAT. Yup.  But only 1% of low-income students get the same privilege. That is because affluent parents have the financial means to test their children for learning disabilities through private testing companies or through their private high schools or public high schools in high-income areas. Students with disabilities are entitled to 50-100% more time to take the SAT.

Another reason that low-income students don’t get tested for learning disabilities is that their parents may not understand their rights. With overworked classroom and special education teachers and administrators, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the testing. So parents who may not speak English or need to work during schools hours don’t have the opportunity to request that their children be tested for learning disabilities. They also don’t know how to game the system the way that some wealthy parents do – Hint: college admissions scandal! I wonder how many students receive accommodations because their parents bribe a psychiatrist or testing agency.



Support Animals in Dorms

Notice more “support animals” on flights? Well, colleges are getting substantially more requests for support animals in dorms, too. The process requires a letter from a psychologist, which can be done as easily as paying $140 for a phone consult. These emotional support animals are permitted under the Fair Housing Act, so they are only allowed in the dorms, not outside the resident halls.

While it seems wonderful that students with mental health issues can take their comfort pets with them to college, I wonder how dorms will manage pets fighting, mating, or even killing another pet. Managing pet care requires patience and stability.  What happens when the student has back-to-back classes, and Rover wants to pee – or starts barking? Does inconveniencing other students in nearby rooms matter, and who will mediate the hours of negotiation between the students? Or what if a student is allergic to pets or deathly afraid of dogs or snakes?

When I was in college, we had one cat that visited dorms at will. Cat lovers fed her and enjoyed her company, while others just shooed her away. One cat among 350 students; that can be manageable.  Maybe colleges can have therapy dogs, cats, and rodents that students can visit as needed. Not sure how support animals in dorms will play out but hope it doesn’t negatively affect student admissions like learning disabilities do (trust me, colleges pay 4 times more to educate students with disabilities…).



Is College Tuition Going Down?

There’s a new tuition-reset movement that’s shaking up higher education.  Several colleges have actually lowered their tuition in an era where sticker prices to elite private colleges are upwards of $70,000 per year.  Yes, you read that correctly!

St John’s College reduced its tuition from $70,000 to just $35,000. Actually about 25 colleges have reset their tuition: Mills, Drew, Sweet Brian, Sewanee, Birmingham Southern, Elizabethtown and others.

Over the past 20 years, private college tuition has increased 166% -- 2.5 times the Consumer Price Index. After the 2008 economic crisis (housing bubble), some economists wonder if higher education might be the next bubble to burst. Some believe that the college tuition price is a measure of its quality, which justifies the ridiculous tuition and housing costs parents and students must pay. Back when I was in college in the 1970s, annual tuition was less than $1000. How did annual tuition go from $1,000 to $70,000? Hmm.



Guardianship Scam to Get College Financial Aid

If a parent gives up their custodial guardianship rights to their college-bound children and assign the role to friends or relatives, then their children can qualify for federal and other financial aid. The parents involved in this scam in Chicago (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) are doctors and lawyers with deep pockets to pay their attorneys to bail them out of this hot mess. They claim that their over $250,000 income isn’t enough to support their $600,000 spending habits. Hmm.

I wonder about wealthy people who CHEAT to get their children scholarship dollars for college. I wonder if they’re so self-absorbed that they don’t realize that they’re stealing money from students who really need the financial aid.  Have we become a dog-eat-dog society? Many of these low-income students (the real ones) opt not to attend these pricey colleges if they don’t get scholarships or grants, and they often settle on community colleges or no college at all.

[Source 1] [Source 2]