The Ugly Truth Behind the Million Dollar College Cheating Scandal


By now you’ve definitely heard about the massive college cheating scandal that’s splashed all over the news. The FBI has named almost 50 people, including major Hollywood Stars (really Aunt Becky? Say it ain’t so!) of participating in a college scam that included millions of dollars worth of bribes, forged transcripts, fake SAT/ACT results, racketeering, and money laundering. The scope of the alleged crimes is unparalleled, and it’s looking like lots of people could spend lots of time in jail.  

The entire story is shocking and maddening, especially for the students who worked incredibly hard but lost a spot at their dream school to one of these cheaters. One family alone shelled out $6.5 million to give their child an unfair leg up!

The big question is a simple one: Why? Why would any student or parent go to such extreme lengths just to get a college to say yes? I’m not even asking that rhetorically, I seriously want to know. Even putting aside the enormous moral/legal/ethical conflicts, it’s still a baffling use of time and resources.

Here’s the dirty secret about test prep: it’s really not that hard or complicated. You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve an ACT/SAT score. You really just need a few hours, a few practice tests, and a good work ethic. On top of that, if you have a tutor who can point you in the right direction and go through the tests with you, then you’re more than set. Both tests are consistent and learnable, so literally everyone has the potential to get a great score.

According to the report, the colleges kids have been trying to cheat their way into are Yale, Wake Forest, USC, UCLA, University of Texas, and Georgetown. You want to know what schools kids from Span Test Prep have gotten into? Yale, Wake Forest, USC, UCLA, University of Texas, and Georgetown, to just name a random handful. Hundreds of Span Test Prep students have jumped over 10 points on the ACT; a recent ACT student even went from a 22 to a 36!  

There’s absolutely no reason to cheat your way through college prep, especially since it’s easier, cheaper, faster, and less jail-likely if you just prepare honestly on your own. You’d much rather be sharing a dorm next year with a college roommate than be sharing a jail cell with a felon. Be smart, be ethical, work hard. It’s that simple.