How Does the College Admissions Cheating Scandal Affect Real, Honest Admissions Consulting?

College Admissions Cheating Scandal | Admissionado
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A funny thing happened a few days ago. I was talking to friends from D.C. who, two weeks prior, had never heard of “admissions consulting.”

Upon hearing that phrase as I described Admissionado and what we do, their faces twisted. You could practically hear the question in their minds begging to come out: “Wait, ‘admissions consulting‘? As in––?” Oh dear. Time for a new motto.

So it shall be. We are no longer “Admissionado: World-Class Admissions Consultants.” From this day forth, we are “Admissionado: The Guys Who Will Help You Get Into College, While Keeping Your Parents Out of Jail!”

In case you missed it, last week the Justice Department concluded the largest college admissions fraud investigation in U.S. history. A shady admissions consultant and his clients were charged with fabricating sporting achievements, bribing athletics coaches, and cheating on standardized tests (Damnit Mom! You told me that studying was the only way to improve my SAT score)—all in order to get presumably under-qualified student-“athletes” into elite U.S. colleges. In the days following the arrests, schools around the country have subjected their athletic recruiting tactics to intense scrutiny. Many media outlets have also published explainers about legitimate admissions consulting and its rapidly growing role in the college admissions process.

So, the million-dollar question. Will this affect us? You know, “white-hat, non-felonious” admissions consulting firms like Admissionado…

On the one hand, it’s a huge relief. Finally, some sunlight on those dark and mysterious firms lurking around and beyond the edges of the industry; sunlight that may encourage future concerned parents to ask more meaningful questions when seeking mentorship. Instead of “can you guarantee us admission,” more parents may focus on “how good are you at mentorship?” or “how capable are you at helping students stretch the potential that’s already inside them?” Well, if that’s the result of all this, thanks a million, SEC! We owe you one.

Next to fake charities, back-door bribes, and Photoshopped water polo action shots, our approach to admissions consulting is pretty unimaginative. We prefer the scenic route. That one that includes getting to know our students, helping them introspect, pushing them to drill down further and further into what makes them tick, inspiring them to translate those insights in the best – and most authentic – ways possible. Boring, compared to money laundering. But the upside is that we have a 100% success rate of avoiding prison sentences for everyone involved!

On the other hand, this particular spotlight on admissions consulting isn’t exactly how we wanted to make our grand entrance onto the national stage. Can we get a redo? How easy will it be for some to form an association between “admissions consulting” and… outright fraud? Or between “admissions consulting” and privileged, wealthy, celebrities who buy and cheat their kids’ way into college? Yeah, I’m sure there will be fallout. And maybe we’ll have to spend a few extra minutes putting prison-phobic parents’ minds at ease that we’re the good guys. Not so bad, ultimately.

It’s in times like these I’m reminded of Steve Jobs’s biography. He cared about what the screws on the INSIDE of the Mac looked like. But, why on Earth would you care about that, Steve? No one will ever see them, it’s a waste of time and money. Nah. To care about those screws “even if no one sees them” is precisely what makes his passion credible. This scandal, to the horror of some, and to the open-arms of others, is causing folks to crack open colleges as well as admissions consulting companies, and peek inside.

Good thing we cared about the screws.

*This post was originally published on Linkedin.com.

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