The Unethical use of Hush Money in College Admissions Scandal

Published: 2023-01-09
The Unethical use of Hush Money in College Admissions Scandal
Essay type:  Admission essays
Categories:  Strategy Family Society
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1003 words
9 min read

Getting admitted to some of the top-notch institutions such as Stanford University, University of Southern California and Yale among others is so rigorous. Only the best and talented students get admission slots there. The rigor of the process is to ensure that only gifted and exemplary students who are highly capable of completing their courses, leading social, economic and political transformations in their communities upon graduation get the admissions. Such a competitive process also give opportunities for students from low-income families but with exemplary talents and abilities to compete fairly for slots with those from wealthy backgrounds. However, the recent Federal prosecutors' indictment of wealthy parents who pay so that their children can cheat on college entrance examinations and falsify their records such as abilities in athletics so that the students can get admission into lucrative colleges shows how the process is sometimes unethically compromised. Using hush money to obtain entry to a university of choice is unethical since it denies the deserving students the chances, undermines the essence of success, perpetuates fraud and the culture of using immoral means to get whatever one wants.

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When students from wealthy families bribe so that they get admitted to elite colleges and universities, they end up crowding out the smart, talented, intelligent and high achieving ones from getting the chance. As Peter (2019) points out, "University admissions are largely a zero-sum game, so taking one slot means a worthy student was sent away." In cases where the vice of admission bribery goes undetected, most deserving students are left out unfairly which is unethical. The ethical principle of justice requires that everybody provides to others what is due to them, the things that they deserve (Turvey and Stan 79). This means that everyone in public life reserves to be treated impartially, fairly and equally. The skewed admission process involving bribery thus denies the minority and low income earning households the opportunity of their children getting admitted to the elite colleges. A culture that embraces justice to all create inclusion and suppresses prejudice (Baker 852). With the common imbalance of the social and economic conditions between the rich and the poor, such fraud in academic institutions has the potential of further entrenching such disparities. The students seeking admission to elite colleges and universities should be subjected to the same standard of merit as required by the ethical principle of justice. This would help to avoid discrediting the minority populations and the poor who are already less privileged.

Bribing administrators and coaches by parents so that the students can get an entry into an elite college is against the principle of respect for autonomy. Every student has a moral right to decide the path towards their success instead of being subjected to conversing so that they get admission to perceived reputable institutions. When the parents work with third parties to unethically facilitate the admission process, they deny the student the right to autonomy (Van Hooft 65). Most students can discern and make ethical decisions on what they think is right or not for them. Besides, the ultimate success results from ones' ability to operate within ethical standards and achieve a directed goal. The corollary principle of honesty in every dealings require that in everything that a person does. Peter (2019) states that bribing for admission "...violates the honest services owed to the school." Furthermore, when irregularly admitted students eventually realize that they got the chances through cheating, they are likely to start questioning the authenticity of their accomplishments. Although maybe the process of bribery did not involve them, the students eventually undergo self-doubt, experience reduced self-esteem and reduced productivity at work upon graduation. This not only undermines success but also significantly interfere with the autonomy of the students.

Bribing for admission to college entrenches the culture of impunity, impropriety and using short cuts to get whatever one desires. It propagates the idea that as long as an individual has money, then he can get what he wants at any one time. The glorification of cash at the expense of moral values is a threat to real success. The society should be predicated upon an active emphasis virtues of honesty and trustworthiness instead of using unconventional ways to get things done (Annas 517). It is only within such standards that society thrives. However, using fraud to get admission inclines the students to believe that virtue is not essential. The essence of education is to holistically develop the student through influencing their intellect, psychology, emotions, social skills and personality at large. However, in most cases, the desire to secure admission to elite colleges is unilaterally determined by the sheer obsession with the institution's brand which perceivably influences the job market receptivity to the student. While it is understandable that every student aspires to live a good life upon graduation, getting a good grade or being associated with a college brand alone does not predispose one to a good life. Virtue ethics emphasizes that some fundamental values essentially makes a good person (Annas 520).

In conclusion, bribing to gain admission to colleges is an unethical practice which undermines the holistic impression of what success should be, prevents deserving students from getting admitted and entrenching a culture of impunity. While some of those who fraudulently get admitted admission to elite colleges may be successful, most of them often have self-doubt, reduced self-esteem, and low productivity at work. This is because they are unsure whether their current achievements are a true reflection of their abilities.

Works Cited

Annas, Julia. "Virtue ethics." The Oxford handbook of ethical theory (2006): 515-536.

Baker, Thomas L., Tammy G. Hunt, and Martha C. Andrews. "Promoting ethical behavior and organizational citizenship behaviors: The influence of corporate ethical values." Journal of Business Research 59.7 (2006): 849-857.

Peter J. Henning. "Why Paying Bribes To Get Your Child Into College Is A Crime." March 14, 2019, Nytimes.Com, 2019,

Turvey, Brent E, and Stan Crowder. Ethical Justice: Applied Issues for Criminal Justice Students and Professionals. Saint Louis: Elsevier Science, 2014. Internet resource.

Van Hooft, Stan. Understanding virtue ethics. Routledge, 2014.

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