June 27, 2019

The Deification of College Admissions Officers

“Take a drive around any upper-middle class enclave in America, and within minutes you will spot a station wagon or three adorned with collegiate logos. These cars belong by and large not to college students but to their parents. It is the grown-up version of the age-old “My Child Is an Honor Student at _______ Elementary School” bumper sticker.

You can hardly blame mom and dad for expressing a little pride. They are certainly paying enough for the privilege. And the stickers serve a convenient double purpose, signaling parental virtue to the surrounding traffic: I am a good parent (and person) because my child goes to Brown. Thus the gag response sticker: “Your Kid’s an Honor Student — But You’re a Moron.”

Windshield school stickers have taken on a sinister aspect in the wake of the college admissions scandal that has dominated our headlines these past couple weeks. It turns out that, for some, those stickers and the status they represent are worth risking prison for.

When parents resort to criminal means to secure their child a spot at a top university, no doubt they believe they are acting in the child’s best interest. They worry, as do all parents, about their kid’s future, and they know a prestigious answer to the “Where did you go to school?” question guarantees, rightly or wrongly, a lifetime of opportunity and respect for their child.”

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