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College cheating scandal doesn’t detract from real achievements
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The college cheating scandal is national news.

Prosecutors said college admissions schemes feature 50 defendants across six states, including wealthy parents who bought their kids’ admission into elite colleges. Those arrested include two SAT/ACT administrators, one exam proctor, nine coaches at elite schools, one college administrator and 33 parents, according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.

The parents are facing charges that they paid bribes to get their children into elite schools. In some cases, they reportedly paid to have test scores improved (sometimes by having someone else take the test) or submitted fake credentials — such as having children assigned to athletic teams for sports they never actually took part in.

William Rick Singer, CEO of college admissions prep company “The Key,” pleaded guilty Tuesday to four charges.

A nonprofit organization set up by Singer as a charity, the Key Worldwide Foundation, was allegedly used to launder bribes disguised as charitable donations.

There’s a yearbook meme about this: “Cheaters never win but I just graduated.” It happens. 

It offends our sense of fair play. It’s also not a victimless crime.

A 4.2 grade-point-average apparently wasn’t good enough to get Jennifer Kay Toy’s son admitted to some colleges. What the Toy family needed, according to a lawsuit filed in California, was to do what others did: “lie, cheat, steal and bribe their children’s way into a good college.”

Students who have been lucky enough to be admitted to elite schools have filed a class-action lawsuit claiming their own college degrees are now degraded and will not be worth as much as before the scandal. Good luck proving that.

USA Today has previously reported on the odds against being admitted to one of the eight Ivy League schools. Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale had a total of 281,060 applicants for the class of 2021. Of those applicants, less than 10 percent got admissions offers. Harvard had the lowest acceptance rate out of all the Ivies, at just 5 percent.

However, there’s a lot of information available for students who want to learn more about getting into elite schools. Allen Cheng, co-founder of PrepScholar, notes that for outstanding students who apply to Harvard, the odds of being accepted are a lot better than 5 percent. It’s a matter of learning how to be outstanding while playing by the rules.

We’d rather see students (and adults) who believe in themselves and work to get ahead, students (and adults) who are known as being trustworthy and truly deserving of any honors or success that come their way.

It’s not surprising that some will chose cheating but the ones who don’t can make a positive difference.