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Webcast: Unpacking the college admissions bribery scandal

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Palo Alto college adviser John Raftrey discusses with Weekly journalists the implications of a multimillion-dollar nationwide admissions bribery scandal.

Watch the webcast here or listen to the podcast version of the episode here.

Related content:

Feds: Parents paid tens of thousands to game the admissions system

William 'Rick' Singer, head of college-admissions scam, had many Palo Alto connections

Pressure over college admissions 'out of control'

Stanford students file class action lawsuit in admissions scandal

Ex-global equity firm exec, a grad of Gunn High, implicated in admissions scam

Opinion: Making the college-admissions system more equitable

Opinion: Lessons parents should learn from the college-admissions scandal

Editorial: The audacity of privilege

$75K for a fake ACT score? Students say cheating happens without the big bucks

In response to college-admissions scandal, Stanford to probe policies, current athletic recruits

Palo Alto couple faces money-laundering charge in college-admissions scam

Following college-admissions indictments, feds investigate whether Stanford was lax in complying with financial-aid laws

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7 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 18, 2019 at 1:24 pm

Does anyone know if there other local high schools that are caught up in the cheating scandal besides Notre Dame? My daughter had Notre Dame at the bottom of her list of possible high schools, but the school is no longer a consideration.

9 people like this
Posted by @Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2019 at 2:03 pm

I don’t think Notre Dame should bear the blame for the parent’s decision to privately hire an unscrupulous college counselor. From what I read, the parents were asking Singer to deceive the high schools and their college counselors as much as possible.

1 person likes this
Posted by Concerned Dad
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 18, 2019 at 4:32 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

8 people like this
Posted by @parent
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 18, 2019 at 5:16 pm

I agree Notre Dame should have spotted something fishy about the tennis recruit. However many kids make their mark through club sports not school teams. Singer may have bribed some coach to fabricate the sports resume for the school record. Usually schools rely on the honor code on outside extracurriculars but clearly this practice is going to have to tighten up.

Notre Dame is blameless about the SAT tampering. Notre Dame is not an official SAT test center which means their students have to take the test offsite, usually at a public high school but they can take it at any center, even out of state. The SAT cheaters were using special test centers set up for kids with learning disabilities to run their cheating operation. All Notre Dame would see is the score report that is sent to them 6 weeks later. They, like all schools, rely on the integrity of the College Board to employ ethical proctors.

6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 19, 2019 at 10:15 am

Posted by @parent, a resident of Midtown

>> Notre Dame is blameless about the SAT tampering. Notre Dame is not an official SAT test center which means their students have to take the test offsite, usually at a public high school but they can take it at any center, even out of state.

It is clear that standardized tests require MUCH higher security than they have had. Not only authentication of the individuals, but, clearing proctors, and, conducting special-needs tests in certified facilities. That is going to mean significantly higher costs, which naturally will impact some families more than others.

Name-brand universities like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, etc., won't stand for corrupt employees facilitating "side-door" entrance, and will happily crush the individuals involved like cockroaches. The "side-door" dilutes the value of their brands which they are increasingly protective of. The "backdoor", OTOH, has long been considered a -feature- (not a bug) of elite university admissions. Only recently have these universities "aspired" to having undergraduate admissions be purely merit-based. They are private institutions-- they decide who they admit. And, they can also spend more per admission to get the students they want.

Higher-status public universities like the UC system-- UCLA was hit by this fraud apparently-- have a much more difficult problem in determining "merit" at an affordable cost.

10 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 19, 2019 at 7:43 pm

The business of college admissions advising should end. My apologies John.
These are part of the problem.
We have lowered ourselves to a dubious industry which is rampant and thriving in many developing countries.
You are old enough to know that these kinds of businesses were non-existent a decade ago.
Twenty years ago I saw these shady businesses everywhere in major cities in India, SE Asia, Korea, and China.
It is a huge part of the economies of these countries. But would be considered morally and ethically wrong by Western standards.
I even saw fake universities set up which offered tutoring, and supplied fake letters of recommendation. Some tutoring was offered but mostly it was simply memorizing old tests.
I felt this was being done not for the pursuit or desire of an education, but rather a way to immigrate to a western country.
Send one child abroad, and the rest of the family (or parent) would come later.
The parents were the ones pushing and paying for these young students of course.
Let's not lower ourselves to these standards.
I know there are many of these kinds of businesses operating here in the states now.
If you are unable to read their ads written in languages other than English, you will just have to find a friend to validate what I am saying, or perhaps take some classes in a non-western language such as Mandarin (or other dialects), Vietnamese, Hindi (or dialect) to read them.

We must change our policies regarding admissions of foreign born students over our own students who were born here and educated here.
Some families have been paying taxes in California for over 100 years like my family, but my kids went out of state. This should not have to happen.

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