An Examination of Rich Privilege in Wake of Admissions Scandal

March 27, 2019

When it comes to college admissions, every high school senior is already stressed out from the amount of options they have from career aspects, college majors, the type of colleges they want to attend, and the prestigiousness of the schools they choose to apply to. This is all typical for students who come from typical parents with average household incomes.


 Photo: Daniel Barnes on Unsplash 


But for the students with parents who make a hefty sum of money, no worrying is necessary. That is because they have rich privilege. Rich privilege is when you can overcome certain obstacles because you, or your parents, have an excess amount of money that allows for any obstacle to disappear.


Earlier this month, stories started to spread across the media like wildfire about how wealthy parents, actresses, coaches, and more were using their money to get their children a college acceptance letter. According to an article by, parents paid from $200,000 to $6.5 million dollars to guarantee college acceptances to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country, while they did not necessarily deserve it. The way the scheme worked was that parents paid a college prep organization to either take the SAT or ACT test on behalf of the students or correct their answers to get them a better score. Then the college prep organization bribed college coaches to help admit the students into the colleges as recruited athletes, even if their abilities were not up to par or they had never played the sport. This kind of privilege is one that completely undermines the college admission process and sends the wrong message to students looking to get accepted to similar colleges.


As a first-generation college student, this type of scandal is very disheartening to see. There are hundreds of thousands of students who work endlessly to achieve acceptances to these prestigious universities and here comes kids whose parents have money to get them in over those hard-working students. According to the New York Times, students all over have been speaking out about their outrage and specifically saying that higher education has always benefited people who come from privileged backgrounds and how students of color have always it harder getting into these institutions. Students from universities all over have had similar feelings. Jessica Wolfrom, a graduate student from Georgetown University, said, “What does it mean when the system itself is so competitive that the people with the most privilege and wealth feel they have to cheat and lie and pay people off to get their kids ahead? Where does that leave everyone else?”— questions that rings true in this day and age. These may be families that felt that they had to use their money to get their kids into the well-known colleges but in actuality should have just allowed their children to go wherever they could get into.


The primary problem with this is that with rich privilege comes the notion of people do not have to work as hard to get into these institutions and those who have may feel like they have wasted their time in a sense. Money should not make a difference on what college you get into. It should always be about what you can bring to an institution to make it greater and how strong of a candidate you are.


Anthony is a Senior in College studying Political Science and preparing for a career in Communications. He enjoys learning about the world around him and ways to make it better.


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