Columbia Student Writes About How She ‘Bought’ Her Way Into College

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Columbia University student Carlene Buccino wrote an op-ed for The Baltimore Sun claiming the main reason she got accepted there is because her family could afford an expensive SAT prep course.She believes this is true for many of the kids who get into Ivy League schools and that’s “massively unfair,” she explains. 

“I bought myself a higher score because my family could afford to, and many of my peers at Columbia did the same. We like to think we’re all here because we earned it. But many of us are here because we could pay the price of admission,” Buccino writes.

Here’s the meat of her argument from her op-ed

Admission into the Ivy League and other top schools is also considered to be meritocratic. A major part of a student’s application is his or her SAT score. Admissions officers use this “standardized” test to compare students from different backgrounds against each other.

But in practice, the SAT is far from standardized. Many high schoolers take prep classes that teach not actual knowledge but SAT-specific tricks. Some of these classes, like Princeton Review’s SAT honours prep class, can cost roughly $2,000.

She writes that Ivy League schools should stop focusing so much on SAT scores for admission. 

Read Buccino’s full op-ed here >