The College Admissions Scandal :: This is Personal

The College Admissions Scandal:: This is Personal | Houston Moms Blog

The headlines are plentiful. If I had to guesstimate, I figure there no fewer than fifty-eleven thousand articles on the topic floating around the internet right now. If I had to combine the major elements into one headline, it would read something like  Rich and Entitled Parents Buy and Cheat Their Over-Privileged Children’s Way into Fancy Schools

It’s not like we didn’t know it happens. However, the brazen arrogance with which they’ve acted in this incident is a painful slap in the face to those of us – the parents and the children – who play by the rules. My lack of surprise does nothing to quell the fact that I am pissed. As a parent, educator, friend, university graduate, and relatively decent and empathetic human being – there are multiple layers to my… piss-tivity. Hang in there with me as I attempt to sort through my convoluted and complicated thoughts in a semi sort of clear and concise manner.

Layer :: My People

I have three kids. I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure admission into the colleges of their choice. There will be no multimillion dollar donations to purchase buildings on our preferred campuses, tilting the likelihood of admission in our favor. There will be no fictional disabilities to increase the amount of SAT testing time. There will be no fake or photoshopped rowing team shots or bribes to college coaches. There will be no one to correct their answers on the SAT before it is graded. There are no connections to pull strings behind the scenes.

In my house, we accept responsibility for our successes and our failures on this journey. We own our roses and we own our crap. Every little piece of something that comes to my children will be the result of blood, sweat and tears. As it should be. For everyone. 

Questions for the Defendants

Why do you believe you and yours should be different? What kind of person decides that their children deserve more for doing less and to the detriment of others? What lessons have your children learned from your actions? And if regular folks are expected to pull themselves up by their bootstraps – why not you too?

Layer :: My Other People

I am not alone. I see and hear worry, anguish and guilt of friends and family in similar positions, all navigating the college application process hoping to see our children’s dreams come to fruition. Parents – killing ourselves to provide the support needed to ensure that our children are able to live their best lives. Albeit – legally. I’m thinking of course selections, and AP classes, and well rounded resumes full of impressive activities and leadership experiences. Prepping them with high priced classes so that they are SAT battle ready. We want the same successes for our children that people with incredibly large bank accounts want for their children. We do not come from wealth and privilege. We go to work everyday. We play by the rules. We attempt to instill in our children a solid work ethic and the knowledge that their hard work will be rewarded. 

Questions for the Defendants

How do we tell our children to remain committed to these ideals when cheaters are rewarded similarly or more greatly? How do we trust that our children will have a fair chance at opportunity? Better yet, how do we ensure that you will not steal our children’s opportunities? 

Layer :: The Kids That Were and Weren’t Admitted

I am relatively certain that some of the children caught up in this scandal knew their performance and experiences did not rise to the level of their peers, but I’m thinking about those blindsided by the knowledge that their parents purchased their college acceptance letters. Imagine it being front page news that your parents committed fraud so that you could attend the college of your choice. 

But my heart breaks most for the children who might have been admitted to the college of their choice… if this were not a thing. Students were admitted that likely would not have been had they followed regular and ethical admission procedures. In turn, it is likely that some students were rejected that would have been admitted if not for the fraudulent actions of others. I’ve witnessed the disappointment of students not accepted to their first choice of college. This scandal taints the validity of the entire college application process.

Questions for the Defendants

How do you right this wrong? What do you say to your own children who thought they were honestly admitted? What do you say to the children more qualified than yours that might have been admitted if not for your actions?

Layer :: My University

My alma mater made its way onto the list; it isn’t the first time our admissions process has been headline news. It was just a few years ago that the university was accused of allowing less qualified African American students to gain entry over more qualified students of other races. As a cherry on top, a Supreme Court Justice added that African American students “do not do well” at more challenging universities and should attend “less advanced or slower track” schools.

The perpetuation of the idea that Black students are unable to gain admission to and/or be successful at elite universities is common. Students of color are regularly underestimated, forced to prove themselves, must be better than, or outperform others just to receive the same recognition. The irony that some of the most privileged families in this country resorted to an incredible array of unethical methods to gain admission while fingers are regularly pointed at students of color is ludicrous and yet still standard.

Questions for the Defendants

Did anyone question their right to attend these universities? What steps did you take to ensure that your children would be qualified to attend this university? What hardships did your children face that you believe entitles them to this sort of…  Affirmative Action?

Better Than You

What we see here is confirmation of the simple and ugly truth. Money buys lots of… things. The idea of a level playing field is a farce created by the people watching the game from the luxury box to quiet those of us with no choice but to watch the game from someone’s living room. We see you.

Coincidentally, Aunt Becky was just freed on a $1,000,000 bond; she gets to keep her passport.

May we all do better with the lessons we teach our children.


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Joi was born and raised in San Antonio. After a brief pit stop at the University of Texas in Austin, Joi moved to Houston in 1994 and began checking boxes off her never ending to do list. During this time and in no particular order, Joi taught a little bit of everything between first and eighth grades, got married and then divorced, completed grad school, birthed a few babies – Ferris {November 1997}, Warren {December 1999} and Laylah {March 2006}, moved an old lady into her home – Granny {January 1925} started working in Human Resources, served an excessive amount of time (on boards, in booster clubs, team momming) as a crazy sports momma, and learned a lot of life lessons. Joi is known for her unabashed honesty, always present sense of humor and her #TeamTooMuch style of doing everything. On most days, you can find her caught up in her love/hate relationship with politics, feeding her Facebook addiction, or counting the number of days until her last child graduates from high school.

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