Our Reaction to the College Admissions Bribery Scandal

We have received dozens of emails, text, and inquiries about the current scandal. We think it is very sad and emblematic of bigger issues. When the going gets tough, the urge to cut corners can be real. And this scandal underscores just how hard it is to get into college. But we need to make it incredibly clear: our practice is both ethical and legal. We don’t condone or endorse anything that happened in the latest scandal. We would never cheat or encourage cheating. In fact, we have been approached by people who want us to fabricate essays or transcripts and we have always, without exception, turned them away. We have never and will never ghost write essays. We categorically condemn this behavior. We operate with an incredibly high moral and ethical code.

Besides, we have learned from experience both personal and professional that nothing substitutes hard work. We’ve worked with hundreds of students who have gotten in to one of their top schools, and we have never engaged in ethically dubious or illegal behavior. So, during the college process, remember to be yourself and bet on the safest avenues: quality guidance and strategic effort.

If the scandal taught us nothing else, it is this: it’s really hard to get into college. Like really, really hard. So hard, in fact, that wealthy celebrities and CEOs have been busted in a 50 person-wide bribery ring in which they influenced colleges and manipulated resumes and test scores to secure acceptances for their offspring. Yikes.

So, now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, the question you should be asking is, “what the heck can I do to rise above the competition?”

Enlisting Help  

You’ve come to the right place.

Getting additional support is advised, but do it the legal way. Hiring a good college consultant is a great way to get started on the path to victory. It’s also perfectly legal. It’s helpful to have someone in your corner who has done this before, many times over, telling you where exactly to focus your energy.

Excellent grades and scores are two crucial pieces to the puzzle. They are the baseline. You should operate under the assumption that, if you don’t have those two things, you’re going straight to the rejection pile should you apply to top tier universities. We help our students maximize their academic capabilities by helping with test scheduling and organization.

Developing a Brand

We also help our kids determine which classes to take. Part of the intentionality around academics is to focus you in a particular direction. Here’s the thing. When you’re competing with so many qualified people, the best way to stand out is to establish a niche. We do this, in part, by helping students cultivate a suite of electives and extra-curriculars that establish them as an expert in a particular, highly specific area. You can have As and get a perfect score on the SAT and be captain of the soccer team, but guess what? There will be 1,000 more A+, perfect-scoring, captains of the soccer team just like you. Yes, you have to be unique AND high-achieving, but this is also where the College Con Moms missed the mark. You don’t need to pay your way in. You just need to find someone to help you become a master in a particular niche.

Sealing the Deal

Essays are crucial. They are an extension of establishing yourself as a specialist. We help our students go the extra mile by fleshing out their personalities through really impressive essays. In addition to becoming a specialist, your secondary goal should be to connect with the person reading your application. We like to tell our students to consider who, exactly, their audience is. You can assume that this person is a hard working adult between the age of 28 and 45. You don’t have to slip them a cool $6 million to get their attention. You just need to be human and write in a way that allows them to get to know you a bit better. Casual, conversational, and funny stories are often best. Don’t be over the top and try to write something existential or an account of a personal tragedy. (If you missed school for a personal or medical issue, there is an additional info section on the application just for that. Don’t write about it in your essay!)  

Need some help with your college essays? We are great at helping students tell stories that stick out. Call us.