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Scam to bypass college admissions (be careful where your 529 is going)

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  • MPMD MPMD 
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    The whole affair seems rather torid, but at least they used Trojans.

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    Close the thread. This is the best anyone is going to do.

    Avatar SValleyMD 
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    I love that the full house kid turns up on a mega yacht of the Chairman of the board of trustees in the Bahamas at the exact time this all goes down. Great look for usc.

    USC’s academic rise to respectability has actually been pretty impressive over the last 20 years but this sure does solidify the stereotype

    #198299 Reply
    Liked by Tim, Zaphod
    Vagabond MD Vagabond MD 
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    As others, my initial reaction was, “This kind of stuff happens all the time. It’s illegal?” Clearly, lines were crossed.

    Parents will go to great lengths to increase the odds for their children succeeding.

    Those who have said, “just place $1M in VTSAX and send them to community college, and, presto, in 40 years they will be loaded” are missing the point of college. It’s not simply to buy a degree. Especially at the upper levels, college is one way to buy a network – for future social, recreational and employment purposes. The child of a Hollywood star or large bank CEO is not likely to meet a suitable future spouse, tennis/yoga buddies, or employer at the local community college, but there is a decent chance that he/she will meet them at Yale, Georgetown, or USC.

    "Wealth is the slave of the wise man and the master of the fool.” -Seneca the Younger

    #198300 Reply
    Avatar BCBiker 
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    I wonder how long what university you go to actually will be seriously considered for talent recruitment.

    It seems funny to me that certain industries (e.g. consulting, ibanking) recruit almost exclusively at Ivys.  Clearly when you hire an Ivy graduate you are not buying increased skill, intelligence, etc. Perhaps they acknowledge this and they want the same network exposure that the wealthy want for their children. For powerpoint driven professions maybe this is ok.

    But if I was hiring and wanted to truly rely on universities to filter for highly competent people, they are becoming almost worthless for this.

    In medical school admission, the university one attends ranks relatively high as a metric to filter candidates.  I’ve even heard rumors that after step 1 score some residency directors use university attended (not med school attended) as the second most important data point in deciding who gets interviewed. I don’t know the rationale but I considered this quite dumb and unfair when I heard about it. Anecdotally, in my med class’s match I think this hypothesis explained what was otherwise hard to explain.

    The major issue with these types of cheating activities is that for every child who cheats and gets in to an “elite institution” an exponentially more qualified student is forced to go elsewhere. One thing that the US has done well is that wealthy families rise and fall. While the top 1% in US are super wealthy, historically there is a lot of year to year turn over on that list and even more so over decades.  This is unlike most of Europe where the same families have been on top 1% for centuries. Some people attribute this feature of America to the the enduring economic success. Cheating on admissions to consolidate privilege is a threat to the US economy, assuming that people continue to take university attended as a metric of quality. I’m happy that this is getting media attention such that what is obvious to many of us here becomes more widely understood.

    #198321 Reply
    Hank Hank 
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    But if I was hiring and wanted to truly rely on universities to filter for highly competent people, they are becoming almost worthless for this.

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    Do you seriously think a significant number of people get into and graduate from Cal Tech, MIT, and Harvey Mudd based on something other than intellectual horsepower and willingness to gut it out in a world class, competitive program?

    #198328 Reply
    Avatar Panscan 
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    I think it’s mixed hank. Some of these schools have grade inflation, others don’t. I haven’t heard of that at the elite engineering schools you mentioned(and those are brutal from what I’ve heard) but at places like Harvard there is pretty rampant grade inflation.

    #198339 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
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    Meritocracy is the underlying principle that has been violated.
    Different measurements are objective and subjective. That doesn’t make them right or wrong. Some occupations require base level proficiency skills and others more personality and interpersonal skills.
    Is well rounded entering class a poor goal for admissions? Tilting would be acceptable, decisions based on class, race, gender, and wealth or ability to pay are viewed as having a negative impact on meritocracy.

    What makes a good surgeon, attorney, physician, engineer, accountant or artist?

    MIT and Harvard undergrad are really really physically close to each other but worlds apart. Cross the river and Harvard med is a different breed.

    The act of cheating (breaking the rules) is what destroys meritocracy.

    #198343 Reply
    Avatar BCBiker 
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    But if I was hiring and wanted to truly rely on universities to filter for highly competent people, they are becoming almost worthless for this.

    Click to expand…

    Do you seriously think a significant number of people get into and graduate from Cal Tech, MIT, and Harvey Mudd based on something other than intellectual horsepower and willingness to gut it out in a world class, competitive program?

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    Yes. silly question.

     

    Remember that the SAT scores were completely fake for these kids in this news story.There are 1000s of students who meet the basic requirements for these schools and these kids are getting in on fake credentials. While the bar for entry is high and you are less likely to have as many complete slackers as from this news story get through technical schools. The fact is that less qualified candidate who struggle through curriculum exist in these places and get in over geniuses who would have thrived.   I don’t see how you think think technical school are immune to this.

    #198346 Reply
    Avatar BCBiker 
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    I should also add that obviously impressive people at Ivys and technical school exist. It is just that someone in the bottom quartile at Harvard is more similar to someone in the bottom quartile at University of StateY than to someone in the top quartile at Harvard.  Also there is no reason why the top graduate from Harvard should be compared favorably to top graduate from University of StateX.

    Performance matters much more than where one is performing and most people don’t seem to comprehend this. Where one is performing is much more reflective of where they are coming from than where they are going.

    #198347 Reply
    Avatar Scopemonkey 
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    A lot of good op eds out there now regarding that despite this obvious case of fraud and deception in the college admissions process, there are of course many perfectly legal ways to improve one’s chances of getting into a top school, that are gradations on the ethical scale.  We have twins who are in the middle of the college admissions process now (seniors) so have been tuned in.

    One can argue that it should be based on only merit.  The top scores and grades only for the top schools.  So is it “fair” that Yale or Princeton or MIT takes a kid who’s clearly not in that top group, but could probably still do the work (say an A-/B+ student with SAT’s in the low 1400’s) who is a good lacrosse player or violinist?  They do exactly that, if their team needs a good lacrosse player or their orchestra a new violinist.  How about a kid from the inner city who never could afford the SAT tutoring that wealthier families now routinely hire for their kids?  Is it right that legacies get preference at top schools?  They admit they only do this for alumni donation increases.

    Is it fair that wealthier families can hire the myriad “private college counselors” who have now sprung up to carefully edit essays and coach the kids on interviews and what extracurriculars are most valuable starting in 8th grade?  How about just the fact that wealthier families can afford to live in good school districts with better high schools, and better school counselors?  Or afford private schools with counselors who start the college coaching process with freshmen?

    All valid questions.  More educated, wealthier families definitely benefit in this process, mine included.  No good answers, except that the schools, in their quest to get in athletes and wealthier kids and legacies who will then support the school with donations later, have to shoulder a lot of the blame.  It’s quite a terrible process nowadays, and even though we swore we’d “stay above the fray” going into it, hard to do completely.  I visited probably 2 or 3 schools back when I went in the 80’s, chose a small liberal arts college, and had a great experience.  The process now is hugely stressful to a lot of kids and families, who put way too much emphasis on going to only the best, where the real value is a solid school that’s the right “fit” for the kid.

     

    #198353 Reply
    Liked by Tim, BCBiker, q-school
    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
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    Those who have said, “just place $1M in VTSAX and send them to community college, and, presto, in 40 years they will be loaded”

    Click to expand…

    It was $6.5M.

    It’s not simply to buy a degree. Especially at the upper levels, college is one way to buy a network

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    Just like Aunt Becky’s daughter said, it’s about the parties and game days. Is there a stronger network than *insert name* community college? 😉

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #198354 Reply
    Liked by Zaphod
    q-school q-school 
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    it used to be that it was a disadvantage to be female when i was young.  then it was white male.  now it appears the biggest challenges are faced by the economically disadvantaged and asian male combination.  someone is always going to have to work harder than some other group.

    think of sean connery in the rock.

    losers whine about doing their best.

     

    #198358 Reply
    Liked by angeladiaz99
    Zaphod Zaphod 
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    The issue isnt getting into college. I would doubt that colleges take these kids while excluding good ones. There just arent really a limitation in spots and the amount of people with money to burn is going to be somewhat limited (but probably galaxy brain larger than I can comprehend).

    The real problem or really burn is that the people who graduate from an elite school have better life prospects than those that dont, no matter their actual aptitude. There are plenty of jobs out there where college doesnt really matter and most are really on the job anyway. In way too many fields pay is tiered based on where you go or you’re only recruited from certain firms. The lifetime earnings and network effects are immense and then they are legacies to their kids easing that entry next gen.

    A lot of the hedge fund guys were chatting and many said that the only reason lacrosse exists in the first place is access to these wealthy families, its systematized. That there are such legal processes at all is whats crazy, not this little bit of extremely unqualified kids getting in, I mean a 1400 is really low right?

    #198359 Reply
    Liked by Tim
    Avatar fasteddie911 
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    As others, my initial reaction was, “This kind of stuff happens all the time. It’s illegal?” Clearly, lines were crossed.

    Parents will go to great lengths to increase the odds for their children succeeding.

    Those who have said, “just place $1M in VTSAX and send them to community college, and, presto, in 40 years they will be loaded” are missing the point of college. It’s not simply to buy a degree. Especially at the upper levels, college is one way to buy a network – for future social, recreational and employment purposes. The child of a Hollywood star or large bank CEO is not likely to meet a suitable future spouse, tennis/yoga buddies, or employer at the local community college, but there is a decent chance that he/she will meet them at Yale, Georgetown, or USC.

    Click to expand…

    I don’t know about legality of it, but I didn’t think falsifying test scores, lying on applications, etc. happened all the time, but maybe I’m out of the loop.

    I can also see how the networking theory may hold some weight, at least in the eyes of these types of folks who I think are in their own bubble, but in reality I’m not sure how much I buy into that. Professionally, I think it depends on what someone goes into, but for something like medicine, business, law, STEM careers, etc. I’d think grad school is more of a networking opportunity.  I think undergrad hold less weight these days, grad school is what undergrad used to be, imo.  Anecdotally, I know few folks who lean on their undergrad degree or network, though most of these folks hold advanced degrees.

    #198361 Reply
    Lordosis Lordosis 
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    The child of a Hollywood star or large bank CEO is not likely to meet a suitable future spouse, tennis/yoga buddies, or employer at the local community college, but there is a decent chance that he/she will meet them at Yale, Georgetown, or USC.

    Click to expand…

    I am a doctor and I met my suitable spouse at our state university and I would not trade her for anyone at Yale.  If the rich and famous want to pay for their kids to meet people why not just buy them memberships to the country club/yacht club/ yoga studio.

    “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”

    #198372 Reply

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