Prep school fraud is sad


Gina Wu, Editor in Chief

Behind the laptop sits an African American student dressed in gear from an elite university.

Around the student is a crowd of fellow classmates witnessing the most suspenseful moment ofa high schooler’s life: opening a college acceptance letter.

The second of tension just be- fore the webpage loads feels like eternity, but the scene always ends in the same heartwarming way. The student in front of the laptop becomes overwhelmed with shock as fellow classmates jump and scream with excite- ment for their peer’s acceptance into a dream university.

These students are from T.M. Landry College Preparatory School in Louisiana, a school known for bringing African American students from chal- lenging backgrounds to success.

But there is one fact behindthe glory undermining these accomplishments: it’s fake.

An investigation by the New York Times revealed the found- ers of this private preparatory school falsi ed transcripts and lled application essays with lies that embody the most ste- reotypical hardships of growing up as an African American to gain sympathy and provide diversity to elite universities.

Worst of all, the founders used intimidation and abuse in order to manipulate the students into abiding by their fraud. All this for a one-minute video on YouTube and the feeling of nally “making it.”

But does “making it” really mark the end of the story?

An unaccredited school set in a run-down building, T.M. Landry lacks legitimate teachers and classes. Landry students are forced to prepare for the ACTrather than learning actual ac- ademic material and practicing study skills that will becomevaluable for their futures.

Providing proper guidancefor teenagers is the only way students can truly live up totheir full potential. Leavingthem the passion for learning and teaching them how to constantly strive to become the best version of themselves is far more important than painting anillusion of what colleges wantto see and forging a “miracle.”

Even after being admitted to some of the top universities, Landry grads revealed they are unable to keep up with the pace of the college academics.

The desire to become part of an elite university’s student body is the dream of almost ev- ery high schooler. But it should not be the basis for everythinga teenager strives for.

A person should instead pay attention to the experience they gain from going through life one step at a time and living in the moment. Acceptance into college is undoubtedly an important moment of a person’s life, but let it not become the sole de nition of their existence.