Cheating College

Cheating College

Cheating College

00:00 / 4:12

Jim Stroud here, reporting for The Shred! A mini-Chad and Cheese bite of breaking news.

No doubt you have heard about the college admissions scandal where federal officials have charged several members of the 1% in what the Justice Department is calling a “multi-million-dollar scheme to cheat college admissions standards.” Among those one percenters are Felicity Huffman (from the TV Show Desperate Housewives – hashtag irony) and Lori Loughlin from “Full House.” For those who don’t know, the scam went like this – parents allegedly paid a consultant to fabricate academic and athletic credentials and to arrange bribes to help get their children into prestigious universities. Not only was this wrong, turns out it was also a waste of time.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, who compared student application choices and post graduation earnings, there was only a little difference in income among students from similar backgrounds who attended colleges with different degrees of selectivity.

Bottom line: Some people paid a lot of money to impress their friends and family and will pay even more to stay out of jail. Seems to me that the best investment would have been to encourage their kids to apply for college on their own merits. But I digress…
In case you are wondering if this scandal will shake up the status quo of elite universities, think again. It was recently reported that many top colleges are reporting record low acceptance rates. Harvard and Dartmouth both have record-low acceptance rates at 4.5% and 7.9%, respectively. Cornell University accepted 10.6% of applicants, which is just slightly more than last year’s record-low of 10.3%. So, wow, getting into those exclusive halls of learning will be even more impossible for the foreseeable future. Its as if you need a fixer to get your kids inside. Oh, wait a minute. Nevermind.

If going to an elite school doesn’t really produce a better economic outcome for the students who attended there then, what’s the point? If that’s you then, you may be encouraged to learn this, several high schools across the USA are breaking away from traditional schooling and embracing new models that emphasize capabilities over knowledge — with added attention on interpersonal skills that appear likely to become ever more valuable in the future workplace. You like that? You’ll love this.

  • A new teaching method at Summit Shasta, a charter school just outside San Francisco, let’s their students choose the skills they want to focus on — and they match those preferences to their college and career aspirations
  • Here’s another one: Lakeside School in Seattle is revamping their curriculum and developing a list of future-proof skills to teach their kids so they’ll have nothing to fear from working in an automated future.
  • And then there is the Mastery transcript Consortium, a group of top high schools that measures a student’s skills, habits and knowledge as an alternative to the typical list of letter grades.

That’s all I got to say. Chad and Cheesy, keep it easy. Stroud, out!


Connect w/ Jim –
• Estimating the Return to College Selectivity over the Career Using Administrative Earnings Data
• Is Elite College Worth It? Maybe Not
U.S. Charges Dozens Of Parents, Coaches In Massive College Admissions Scandal
• College admissions scandal: Lincoln’s land-grant colleges are still helping students grow
• Mastery Transcript – Join the effort to create a high school transcript to transform high school.
• A movement to prepare students for the future of work