The typical understanding of the college admissons process is backwards. Many families approach the college admissions process as “How can I help my kid be worthy of being select-ted?”—a misguided understanding at best and moreso an anxiety-provoking, potentially moral-compromising “Arms Race“-like reality for too many families.
Yet, the college admissions process is ultimately a process of select-ting, where the family is a select-tor not the select-ted. Any other approach inflates the power of a college admissions officer and overlooks the inherent individuality of the student, who’s in the process of understanding their ability, thus defining their life’s purpose.
Yet, in the all too common, yet misguided, race for achievement, where the “right” acceptance letter is the end objective, individuals can make criminally punishable choices, like the parents, former coaches, and former college administrators in the Varsity Blues scandal.
All participants fundamentally misunderstood the college admissions process, mixed with the natural instinct of any parent to want what’s best for their children, and set afire by extraordinary wealth and the human frailties of avarice and pride.
As published in To Cheat and Lie in L.A. by Vanity Fair:
She [Jane Buckingham] knew she was acting bananas and tried to laugh it off. “I know this is craziness,” she said to Singer. “I know it is. And then I need you to get him into USC, and then I need you to cure cancer and make peace in the Middle East.” Then she forked over $35,000 of a promised $50,000 to Singer’s Key Worldwide Foundation and waited for her son to get into the University of Southern California.Vanity Fair To Cheat and Lie in L.A, September 2019
Mrs. Buckingham, one of the parents indicted in the Varsity Blues College Admissions Scandal, as well as many other parents who haven’t committed any crime, miss the real opportunity present for their children as they apply to college.
The college admissions process is inherently one of self-discovery, so youth gain confidence in their talents, then select a college as the next stage where they can continue becoming their best selves. As Rumi said,
And, what parent does not wish for their children to be joyful?