College is supposed to be the great equalizer. It is also supposed to set us up for life, opening up professional opportunities that would not exist without that college degree.
However, there are two problems with college: the rapidly rising cost and the idea that for some parents, sending their children to a specific college is more about bragging rights than setting up their child for future success.
In the latest news regarding the college cheating scandal, actress Felicity Huffman pleaded guilty yesterday for her part in the scandal. She will be spending two weeks in jail, will have to pay a fine, complete community service and be under one year supervised release.
Honestly, I have no tears for this woman.
I am not a mother and I don’t agree with what she did, but I understand her motives. The job of a parent is to make their child’s life as easy as possible. However, there comes a point in which a parent must step back and let their child rise or fall on their own merit.
What bothers me about this case is that there are so many students who studied their behinds off to get into college and many parents who scrimped and saved for years to get their kids into these colleges. The fact that Ms. Huffman and others thought that they could buy their way into the college admissions process is a sad reminder that the money still gets one farther that hard work.
I hope that this case is a lesson to us all, especially those in the 1%. Money can only get you so far, but hard work will get you everywhere.
When I was growing up, my parents were flexible on many things. But what they were not flexible on was college. One way or another, I was going to attend college and earn my degree. My middle class parents understood the value of a college education and worked hard so that their children would be able to go to college. But not every family has the financial means to send their children to college.
I get it, the process of getting your kid into college is stressful. I certainly remember what it was like as a high school student trying to figure out where to attend college and then studying like a maniac for the SATs. However, the fact that these parents used their money and influence to cheat for their kids is wrong on two levels. The first level is that cheating is obviously plain wrong. The second level is that the kids were cheated out of the lesson that true success only comes from hard work. At the some point, every parent has to step back and let their kids do for themselves, even if it goes against every parental instinct.
The frustrating aspect of these accusations is that the parents accused of making the bribes likely had the income to pay for their kids college tuition in full. With the scary rise in the cost of college tuition and the even scarier amount of student loan debt that new graduates must pay off, many may question if attending college is the right thing to do. But the reality is that most professions require some form of a college degree, even if it is an associate’s degree. Unlike their peers, these children of the accused have grown up in such a way that the cost of college and student loan debt are foreign concepts.
I don’t blame the parents for wanting the best for their children. But I cannot and will not condone what they did in the name of parenting.