College Admissions Scandal: A Teachable Moment

Please take a moment to peruse this excellent article from the "Challenge Success" organization on the recent college admissions scandal. You may recall that we invited "Challenge Success" to our school last October to present "The Well-Balanced Student." Here is a link to a follow-up article from that session should you like more information on their program.

Many of you shared your outrage and sadness about yesterday's breaking news regarding parents engaging in bribery to help get their students into selective colleges. Let's make sure this news serves as a wake-up call and a teachable moment for parents, students, and schools. Our society’s overemphasis on where you go to school is misplaced and detrimental to the well-being of our students. As Challenge Success Co-Founder Dr. Denise Pope shared on CNN yesterday, this "cheat or be cheated mentality" is far too prevalent. It is a symptom of bigger issues our students face like overload, stress, and a narrow definition of success.

Challenge Success Research Associate, Paul Franz, wrote a thoughtful reaction to this news that can be used to talk with students and families in your community. Here are a few key takeaways:
  • Higher education does serve as a way for students to improve their lots in life, but the name of the school a student attends – or its admit rate – does not make the difference.
  • What you do in college matters more than where you go to college.
  • We need to address the current "cheat or be cheated mentality" and growing crisis of students not getting enough sleep, suffering from physical and mental health problems, of using drugs to self-medicate, or staying up too late to study or finish their homework.
  • We can do better for our students. If our definition of success costs us the health, well-being, engagement, and emotional development of our children, or our own personal ethics, we should reconsider that definition.
  • Start a conversation with your community and educate yourself on how we can all be part of a bigger societal solution.