• Lauren Reeves

Minot State University administrators react to recent college admissions scandals

On March 12, news broke that many elite colleges have been accepting bribes from parents in order for their children to attend the schools. There are eight schools involved in the scandal according to Fox News: Yale, Wake Forest, Stanford, Georgetown, University of San Diego, University of Texas at Austin, University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California.

According to Insider, 10 coaches, seven workers in the universities’ admissions and administration departments, and 33 parents are involved in the scandal. One of the parents involved is “Full House” star Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, who allegedly paid $500,000 to have their daughters attend University of Southern California according to The Washington Post.

Many people are outraged over the fact that administrators at top schools in the country gave celebrity children admission to their schools in order to gain some extra money. In order for most students to be accepted to the University of Southern California, they must have “A” averages from high school and have an ACT score of 30 or higher or a SAT around 1300 according to ThoughtCo.

In light of this scandal, Minot State’s own administrators shared their thoughts about the college scandals and how the school would handle any attempts of students trying to gain access.

“Personally, I find it shocking. I think I’m like everyone in the country when I heard that story,” Kevin Harmon, vice president for student affairs, said. “I honestly cannot fathom the pressure on the students and the families that they would be offering the amount of money that they have been reported to have offered in bribes and also in fabricating their athletic abilities.”

Harmon, along with Anne Norgaard, transfer admissions coordinator, shared how Minot handles application to the school and how the administrators have stopped frauds from happening.

“As far as a freshman, they would supply their ACT or SAT score and they have to come from the officials. We don’t take it from the student; the testing center sends it to us. For the ACT, they don’t even send paper copies anymore, they are just imported right into our system,” Norgaard said.

Harmon shared an experience of an incoming student who changed their test score and how someone in the admission office noticed.

“The tests come in a certain format, and this one in particular was a paper format. Usually the numbers on an ACT score are in bold and the result that came in was typewritten and the number was in a smaller, bold font,” said Harmon. “To my knowledge, in my ten years at Minot State, that is the only time that someone tried to fabricate information to get into Minot State.”

On one occasion, according to Harmon, the testing company contacted administrators and informed them that the company was disqualifying a score that Minot had received. In that situation, a student had taken a test on multiple occasions and, on one of them, scored an 18 and the second time scored a 25.

“They didn’t necessarily have any proof other than to say that that kind of significant gain in a five-month period is just not possible without having cheated,” Harmon said. “We didn’t make that decision, the company disqualified that test, and we actually had the student take another test to gain admittance.”

Katie Tyler, director of enrollment services, explained the enrollment process students go through at Minot State.

“All applicants, when they submit their application, sign a statement — a statement that says that what you have submitted is true and honest about you. If we found that a student had fabricated the information, whether it was their academic records or the information on the application, we would then review that, and if they are a current and enrolled student, we would probably send them through to student conduct review. If they are not enrolled, then we would probably revoke their application and ask them to submit a new one,” Tyler said, “If they’re an athletic recruit, they go through our typical standard admission process. They have to meet all of our requirements and then to be an athletic recruit. You also have to meet NCAA standards. I don’t believe that would happen at Minot State because I think our athletic coaching staff is well aware of the standards, what we expect out of our students, and the high level to which we hold them. I imagine if it did happen, I think there are enough checkpoints in place that we would be able to say, ‘This doesn't add up.’ The student is saying that they are an athletic recruit but they are not on the list of athletic recruits, and I think we would be able to match that, and so I think we can kind of half catch the student prior to enrollment.”

Tyler also wants students to know the university follows a blind admission process.

“When you fill out an application, we aren’t looking at your name and making that decision. We are looking at your academic records. We are making the decision on whether or not you are admitted here in hopes that you will be successful based off of what you have proven in the past,” Tyler said. “It's not about your age, it's not about where you are from, it’s not about who your parents are; it's about your academic ability and it’s about what you say you have done to prepare yourself, which will hopefully be an indication of why you are here.”

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