William Rick Singer is the college consultant who helped some rich and famous people cheat their way into elite colleges. Singer’s “side door method” helped those unable to scale the ivy walls via merit (front door) or donations, influence and connections (back door). The San Francisco Chronicle concisely sums up Singer’s modus operandi:
* Administrators of college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT were bribed to allow third parties to pose as students or correct their answers after they had finished taking the tests.
* College coaches were bribed to designate students as athletic recruits, regardless of their ability to play the sport.
* Third parties took classes instead of the actual students and earned grades for them. The federal complaint describes an incident in which a parent was offered a stand-in for their child to take an online course.
* Students submitted college applications with fake awards and athletic activities as well as fraudulent exam scores and grades.
* The bribery payments were laundered through a bogus charity.
In my twenty years in practive, have I heard of “side door” methods being used for elite NYC private school admissions? Fortunately, never.
However, unsurprisingly, wealthy and connected parents sometimes have a significant advantage in their children’s admission, whether to college or to private school. Innumerable press articles have been written on this subject, none more than in the last week or so.
Also, being brought to light is the huge advantage that athletes enjoy in college admissions. One example from the Wall Street Journal:
At Harvard University, which doesn’t award athletic scholarships, the admission rate for recruited athletes was 86%, and 34% for applicants who had at least one parent attend the school, compared with 6% for people who were neither.