Just like normal people
Lacking a big pile of cash, my daughter will get into school on her own merits
I thought that’s how college generally worked, but after reading about how a handful of celebrities got their offspring into top-notch schools by dumping even more cash on the pile, I thought I’d reassess our plans to see if we had any creative options as we help plan our daughter’s future.
Turns out, that’s not going to happen.
It’s impossible for a few reasons — not the least of which is that my pile of cash wouldn’t really catch the attention of any shady characters who could actually help, because it seems to lack the defining properties of being a pile of cash. It’s devoid of any pile-ness whatsoever.
According to reports, the college admissions scheme also involved manipulating photos to create false athletic achievements. I suppose I could submit a Photoshopped image that would illustrate her completely-made-up rowing abilities, but if you asked her anything about crew, she’d probably just assume you were referring to the 80s hair metal band her dad used to listen to. With sports not really in the mix, she’ll have to hope there’s a school out there looking for some low end in its orchestra or jazz ensemble. You’re much more likely to see her on bass than on base.
It’s also unlikely because the people I know in higher education aren’t the types who are going to allow themselves to get caught up in such tomfoolery. I have to believe that the people who were involved in this were wearing their idiot pants when they agreed to help others circumvent the process.
This next part is directed straight at my soon-to-be high school senior, so if you’re not her, you can skip to the next paragraph: Hi, kid. I can’t bribe anyone to let you into an Ivy League school, but I believe in you. You’re smart, creative, funny, and any school would be better for having you there. Also, we aren’t rich celebrities and you never really seemed all that interested in rowing. I think we’re clear on those points, so please take the dog out.
Welcome back to the column (everyone who is not my daughter).
I guess my non-celebrity, non-influencer, pretty normal — but also extraordinary — child will likely find her way through college (and life) without taking any shortcuts. Any college-earmarked treasure I could’ve been doing the backstroke in, Uncle Scrooge-style, probably helped pay for the new Star Wars land at Walt Disney World. Maybe she’ll study finance in college and learn how to pile up cash better than her dad did.
In the meantime, we’re going to have to rely on her hard work, good grades, volunteerism, extracurricular activities and passion for her chosen path to catch the eye of a particularly lucky admissions department somewhere.
Bill Burke is a writer who lives in a not-mansion in southern New Hampshire with his wife and daughter. He is also managing editor of custom publications for McLean Communications.