The College Admission Scandal

Written on
March 14, 2019
Peter Hostrawser
Many of my followers have been contacting me and seeing what I have to say about the latest college admissions scandal.  It’s a bit of a rant for me.  I think this scandal exposes a lot of how people think like victims of a so called “great education.”  So here it goes…
This scandal to me is nothing new.  My initial college choice was denied because of my low SAT score so I went to a different college for a year.  My grades that first year were so-so and I didn’t really stand out academically.  I did however pay my tuition in full.  When I applied to transfer to my first choice after that initial year, suddenly I was accepted.  Why?  My thought went immediately to this whole university thing being a business and they just saw I paid cash my first year.  I also thought because I was now a transfer, my low SAT score would not be reflected on their admissions stats.  College is a game.  It is a passport.  
The realities of this have shown through in the latest admissions scandal.  Did you see anywhere in the press, colleges, professors stating that these young people whose parents were “buying” their way into college express concern that they might not be able to handle the course loads or curriculum?  Think about that.  
I also read an article in Mindshift regarding how current college students see nothing new in this scandal.  It’s interesting in the article people who struggle to get into college are now feeling like they belong there.  The have earned it.  I say it’s all a scam.  Our young people are putting their hands and money into institutions that have not proven great outcomes in success and employment.  They are putting their power in others hands.  
The greatest tragedy in all of this is that we are not teaching our youth to take control of their own education.  In our current systems, we encourage students to wait for the teacher to tell them to learn.  We teach them what to learn.  We teach them when to learn it.  Students can’t identify how to create value for themselves.  They still believe the value lies in a piece of paper called a diploma or a college degree.  
I recently was working with a senior in high school on building a portfolio.  This young man is intelligent and gets pretty good grades.  I am challenging him to actually show the value he brings from what he has learned in school.  He is completely struggling with this idea.  He even told me that he doesn’t think he has enough projects and value to put into it.  I can assure you he does.  We just fail to teach students about the applicable value that occurs on a daily basis in education.  Our system is too busy preparing our students for AP tests, SAT tests and raising GPAs.  We have lost the actual learning and value creation for our students.  
To the students in the article speaking that the wealthy can buy their way into highly esteemed colleges and universities, I have this to say… Yep, the wealthy can and will continue to buy their way in.  EVERYONE actually has access now.  Just look at all the MOOCs out there.  

Even if you don’t get into that Ivy League school, you can take practically EVERY course they offer on your own with an internet connection.  

The power doesn’t lie in the hands of the institutions like these bribing wealthy criminals think.  The power of learning is right in front of you and it’s for little or no money.  What is stopping you from creating a website or portfolio and explaining what value you bring to the table?  Who is in charge of your curiosity?  Who is in charge of your motivation?  There is only one person you have to blame for not succeeding or being fulfilled.  That is the person in the mirror.  You.  
Several programs that are alternatives to college that build value over certification.  Programs like Discover Praxis, Holberton School and Lambda School are a few.  These help students create value.  Their pricing structures are much better than the inflated costs of college.  Students applying for them will not be able to gain admittance with a high SAT score or GPA.  They will have to show things like effort, teamwork, creative problem solving and consistency.  By the way, this is what employers who pay a lot of money are looking for.  As more and more employers are removing the college requirement from their job descriptions, our youth will have to show value.
So in conclusion to my rant, go ahead and let the wealthy criminals bribe these outdated systems of education.  They are thinking that the piece of paper gets people places.  It doesn’t.  We have a $1.6 trillion college loan debt to prove that.  Spend your time and money learning to create value and how to communicate it.  

When we learn to take the power of learning into our own hands, it doesn't matter what or if we are admitted into ANY institution.
Peter Hostrawser
Creator of Disrupt Education
My value is to help you show your value. #Blogger | #KeynoteSpeaker | #Teacher | #Designthinker | #disrupteducation
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