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tv   Nicole La Porte Guilty Admissions - The Bribes Favors and Phonies...  CSPAN  March 21, 2021 8:00am-8:56am EDT

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experiences in policing after becoming an armed reserve police officer in washington dc and also this evening harvard law professor cass something offers his thoughts on how to limit information in the public forum while protecting free speech and andy no talks about his reporting on antifa. find full information at or consult your program guide. >> welcome to our virtual presentation of guilty admissions: who gets in and why we are here with author nick laporte and jeffrey selingo. this includes an audience q and a and if you'd like to submit a question use the ask a question feature at the bottom of your screen. you can vote for any questions you would like for our speakers to answer and they will make their way to the top of the list. please consider supporting
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our bookstores by purchasing a copy of any of the featured books. click on the green purchase button below thescreen and it will take you to our website where you can complete your purchase . romans is the oldest independent bookstore in southern california, 126 years old and its support from patrons like yourself that keep us running though we appreciate any support you can get us tonight and with that said let me briefly introduce our guestsand we can get the event started . nick laporte is a reporter for fast company who was a columnist for the new york times and a staff reporter for newsweek the daily beast and variety and he's also the author ofthe men who would be getting , movies moguls and a company called dreamworks. joining her is award-winning journalist jeffrey selingo was reported on higher education for two decades. is writing has appeared in the washington post, new york times, the atlantic and many more and he's a best-selling author of there is life after college and college unbound. with that i'm going to turn off my camera.
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enjoy the talk everyone. >> welcome everybody. i'm coming to you from washington dc which plays a role in the varsity blues scandal which we will be talking about at some point so it's just to tell you about the night we will be focusing on both books but were going to lean in a little bit to nicole here because her book came out yesterday congratulations. i want to talk to you about the journey of this book because you started planning this book within the days of the varsity blues scandal breaking. this was a fascinating story. in the 20+ years i've covered higher education i don't remember a higher education story leading the news, being on extra, being on at the supermarket, being on us weekly and all these other things. there were so many juicy angles to this story but you decided to focus on a book on
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la as the epicenter of the scandal. what about la, the la angle of this story made it so interesting forthe book ? >> when i first started it was maybe a week after the scandal broke so you had to shamelessly pursue a book deal but the story is just so sprawling and there are so many parents involved, there's coaches and so many stories within the story. there's singer himself and i really passed notecards down on the floor that very week and said i don't know how, i can't tackle all of this and i also knew the books needed to be turned around fairly quickly so i knew i had to parent down and make it manageable and write a story i could tell and i didn't want to bring my unique vision to it because i knew there were other projects at work and a lot of people jumping on the story and i didn't know la was the way i
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was going to go in but it came quickly because i started calling around to talk to parents and high schools in los angeles and i was trying to get to, trying to get information about the parents involved in the scandal so i was looking for anyone who knew the parents, what were their reputations, what kind of color could i get about them so i was having these phone calls with parents at iv schools and i kept hearing the same things and at that point i wasn't getting that much from the actual parents but sometimes i was talking to the parents and it was real despair and real fear and a sense of i'm doing everything i'm supposed to be doing. i'm paying all this moneyfor this wonderful school . i kid's captain of the soccer team. she already has a 4.0 and yet we're being told or we are getting the sense that my child is not going to be able to go to the school she wants to so that was onething ,
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just this frustration that was surprising saying you are going to the school, your kid as it is doing everything right. how did it turn into this and the other thing that was just a culture of fundraising at the schools and how these kids are admitted to some of the schools and a week later their being sent a letter requesting a quote unquote donation. that factored into the scandal because with these donations that's available for the prize. and so again i'm talking to parents who are complaining to me about this culture of fundraising and writing checks endlessly and many of them don't even know why they're doing it. like i can do anything to help my kids with this. but if it's any kind of influence i'm going to do it but i don't believe in it . i thought a, there's an interesting subculture that people don't know about that might be an exchange about and for people to read about 2, i'm hearing the context of the scandal so if you can understand this environment
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and understand what for the most part these very privileged parents are fearing as well as this culture of as i call it pay for play to get that much closer to understanding the scandal and how we got here. >> i think that idea of being the anxiety of college admissions, we're talking about that later because that's something i saw in my book in terms of we use to especially today's parents who went to college in the 80s, early 90s when it was easier to get into many of these elected schools today. we think that this is a much scarcer commodity now. not even a commodity, it's just a scarcer thing and as a result we kind of pull out all the stops to get our kids into school and these parents seem to have gone a little bit about that in this case but i want to ask you about rick singer because we've heard so much about through
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this scandal and one of the things that futurists mean is you point out when he was in sacramento and he got into la . you say you point out it was the sacramental effect singer was previously only times 10 and one thing that interests me about singer is in la it seems to me connections matter. you get into these social circles. how did he end up infiltrating those circles so that he was so well-known and so deep in all of these private high schools. it's just an interesting character who kind of comes from another place and gets into those social circles, could you talk about how he was able to get intothose circles ? >> just in the context of sacramento because rick started his business in the early 90s and back then it was pure word-of-mouth in sacramento is a different vibe, it's a different culture and then also early on it was just legitimate, there was cheating going on but he would work for a kid and get them in. it was like old-fashioned
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word-of-mouth when a parent talks to another parent and it grew so it was very grassroots, very organic. and when you put the la leader in southern california, if not just los angeles. it's like 2009 he would start. he comes in at a muchhigher level . one of the parents involved in the scandal, douglas hodge who was the ceo of a financial institution. through dog, rick was giving his presentations at places like pedro, he would give them and oppenheimer so he got into this wealth management circle. if you're not just a wealthy person, you're all wealth manager you're probably very wealthy and you're being invited to oppenheimer or penn codes who hears this guy talking to you about college admissions so it's just that's a totally different tone. you're not questioning his legitimacy. if anything he's coming with this seal of approval so that
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was the difference area he's giving presentations in sacramento at the rec center in the swim club in la. so it was just a completely different entrce. and once there were enough of those questions in those circles then it was the border. >> interesting. it's interesting you're talking about parents but when the scandal first broke, something i noticed is the mothers that were heavily involved in this. you mentioned in your book kind of the mother's insecurities and it's interesting nicole but i'm a parent as well and my wife and i talk a lot about this . not only during the scandal but the reporting for my own book because one of the things i've always noticed when i'm out as i was reporting on colleges and universities in admissions ,
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your ear tends to perk up when you overhear people near you talking about admissions so i'd be flying on planes, in coffee shops and it was interesting how it was always the mothers discussing these issues and really worried about their kids. can you explain a little bit about how singer kind of played to the mother's insecurities andtheir instincts to help their children ? >> definitely and i think it's not only specific to the scandal but i have a chapter on preschool and i remember talking to the head of one preschool and she said this is one of those schools where parents show up and say this school leads to this school and it's all going to end up at her and she told me of course, that's how it works. but she told me it was always the dad who passed up for the dad put the emphasis on the school and the name brand which also shows up in the
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scandal. the dads are more like get this done and get the kid into ufc or whatever it is but the mom is very different and the narrative replace itself if you look at these parents involved in the scandal. there's also buckingham and both of those students, you can look at them and they talked a lot about mother's guilt and this guilt that we all know they felt they had been bad mothers. they had this whole website about being a bad mom and how she had always felt like she had always been working and didn't do enough drop-off and pickup and she had been there for her kids and jane buckingham have the same story and i think somehow there's calculus going on in their minds that like well, i haven't been there for you as much as i would like up until now but i'm going to make it up to you with college. i'm going to get this done. i'm going to compensate and woven into that is the sense that they're doing it for their kid.
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all they want is the best for their kid so the kid is dying to go to school, i'm going to make it happen. it's much more tied into the sense of a mother whose failed and how this is an opportunity to make that right and i was very cognizant of it and with jane was going through a divorce and is basically a single mom he would say to her jane, you're an amazing mom and you do so much so he knew exactly who he was playing and he knew what hewas looking at . >>. asking questions, we are definitely going to get to them. but it's closer to the end of the program but we will try to get to as many as we can so keep asking them in the q&a. you want to dig deeper into the mechanics of the scandal because it was huge in so many ways but there were two aspects to the side door as rick inger called them. one was athletics and one was the testing piece of and i
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want to ask you about the athletics piece to cause your book dives into the coaches who enabled this side door scheme at some schools including georgetown. these are coaches of kind of lower profile sports they tend to be anonymous even at division i schools you describe somebody like a tennis coach at georgetown as if minimizing the weary put up on college coach that is largely hidden from the public eye. yet at the same time, he was described as a bit sloppy or as you put it perfect prayfor singer . so they were critical. the coaches were critical to that part of singers scheme. how exactly did he find them. it's not like you show up on a college campus and you're mixing or unusual saying well, who are the coaches i can get? how did he find these coaches ?
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>> the thing is, rick singer had been around. he started independent counseling in the early 90s and from then on he was at these colleges and one thing i learned and this was after the book was turned in, maybe not in the book but coaches knew him. johan love it, the water polo coach at usc he's fighting the charges but his lawyer said he known rick forever beforeit turned into the scandal . rick was at the colleges talking to coaches about how to get kids in as recruits whether it was a walk-on or a scholarship or whatever legitimately so he knew this and another conversation i had post book was with someone who is familiar with the athletic department at ucla and i remember saying everybody knew rick, he was this very maniacal aggressive relentless person who is in people's faces so i think he
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had through his legitimate work got to know the lay of the land and the personalities and he knew where to prep and who was going to give . >> there was still so many people involved. by the way this is a great book, it's really a page turned in so many ways and one thing i kept wondering. i kept marking all the names. just like wow, you start to realize how wide this scandal was in terms of all the people. so it seems like there's a lot of players in the scheme okayed all over the country. and it went on for a long time. so how did it go on for so long with so many people partaking in it and obviously it eventually falls apart but how did it not fall apart sooner, did you ever wonder that as you kept pulling the strings for the report. >> especially in these tightknit communities where everybody thought . but someone said something that i think they said the
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best we can't answer the question is which is he's at the center, rick singer is the home and there are many many folks as you say but they'renot all connected . so a coach i talked to and also you have to understand when rick talks to most of these people it's not in a veiled language. there never saying it's a bribe. so when he spoke with john vander mort at stanford it was very much, i don't think the word bribe was ever used. there's this wink wink thing going on and the stanford coach had no knowledge of any othercoaches . some of the coaches did and if you look at the facts you can see but rick his operation itself was very mean. there was an accountant, there was some of someone who didpaperwork but he was really this loan guy running this . there was this huge organization he was running. and then the parents i think just knew what was on theline
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. >> there was a group that was a little suspicious, high school counselors. there's one of my favorite scenes in the book where it is, felicity huffman's daughter when they go to the daughter's rifle at marymount. >> that massimo c. >> he goes to school to confront essentially tony. petrone who is the high school counselor who is skeptical , very skeptical and suspicious of singer and the students who use it because it was actually really well seems to be a little bit widespread in that school and the students outwardly ignore the school when it came to college counseling. you describe this class that they had and the students are not paying attention to the counselors and things like that. what about the culture not
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only married of the counselors pursuing this. i get the sense it's because of the money and power of these parents and is it most of these parents were using independent counselors and the school counselors don't have time to police them or was it more about the money and power or the independent counselors? what was happening that clearly there was some suspicion on these highschool counselors part about , or is that as far as it went? >> i think it's both of those things you know as much or if not more than i do about these things but there's this strange dance to independent college counselors hired outside theschool and inside the school and no one ones to acknowledge each other . the school , based on the head of schools i talked to, they stopped short of saying you can't hire these people because parents are there
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clients, parents are paying a lot of money but they will discourage them or remind them how great their counselors are and those counselors that do know the kids and that kind of thing but i think there's power play. certainly not just at marymount where the parents are the clients and mossimo is a big donor so he's giving a lot of money and he gives a lot of money and i think it's hard for the counselor to say you're lying so these scenes are interesting because he played it perfectly from the legal sense and took notes on it all which is whythere's these great details but he's very careful in what he says. he knows the daughter's , the older daughter are not growers but he can't say you're lying, i don't believe you so he simply says i will
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relay what you're telling me to ufc so i'm just going to be the conduit here.i do think it's a power play and i talked, i had conversations with administrators and former administrators and a lot of parents treat this like a concierge service and i think the school play into it to some degree. >> it a fascinating sceneand the details are incredible . >> that's all public, i had nothing to do with it. >> i want to ask about ufc in particular because ufc played a big role. i've been amazed at the links that people will go into to get into ufc because i've feature ufc in my book as well in a little section around how schools like it were really regional schools. and then actually ufc saw huge drop-off in applications as i described in my book after the la riots but it was
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clear ufc was also this fundraising machine and they had all these people on their radar. so it makes me wonder couldn't some of these parents just write a huge check to ufc to get in ? >> you would think so and in fact mossimo was approached by and he didn't graduate from ufcbut loved it . >> he even had a flag flying. >> he was part of the fraternity and took classes but he wasn't actually enrolled but he was approached by development and it's also in the court documents, their approaching him saying can we set up a tour ? we'd love to help you and he dismisses them. he's sort of like i've got this going on with singer that speaks to just the power
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of singer and the influence of singer to convince these powerful, wealthy people that nothing was enough . that your money doesn't matter . you don't have enough and it's going to cost you 50 million to donate a library weighing or whatever and i'll charge you 500 grand so there's a lot of manipulation, just like psychological. >> it's interesting because the thing that i saw in my book in reporting who gets in and why around this idea of scarcity in particular. i want to beforewe start to transition . and then to audience questions, i do want to end on this idea of speech and scarcity because this whole scandal is predicated on the idea that it wasn't about getting into any school, it was about getting into a certain set of schools. and it really gets into this idea that it matters where you go to college even if you come from money and fame. so does it? did you feel like everybody thought that even though they had all the privilege in the world to get their kids
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whatever they wanted, including by the way nomatter where they went to college they could open up doors for jobs and everything else i'm assuming . yet where they went to school really matter to them so does it ? does that name on the back if you're in the car matter as much as we think it does? >> i think a lot in our culture tells us that it does whether it's the other thing that came up is all these schools and ourpublic schools to college , and i remember someone telling me their daughter was embarrassed. she didn't want the sweatshirt so i think there's a lot in our culture that speaks to it but i think there's a shift happening and also it comes down to what you offer or investment banks, we all know what school they're going totap into first but i think that said there's a lot changing . i think as people become more educated about like all these different types of schools out there they will have more books being written.
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like your book. and i think it's the same in the last year with all the social unrest. i think even that affecting things. there is this desire in the culture to shake things up and not just adhere to this kind of hierarchy that we all subscribe to . and it's interesting, i write for fast company and we did a story on lebron james when i interviewed his ceo maverick carter who was a very accomplished ceo and has been doing this a long time and certainly does very well and i remember him saying i don't want to have a meeting with my executives or my employees and feel like everyone went to the same 4 schools on the east coast i'll never get an original idea out of that meeting so i think shifts like that and it has as a business level where these other industries have been filtered down to parents but i thinkthere's a shift . >> it has to happen i think with real data, it's
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interesting when i was doing the last there was life after college i spent a lot of time with hiring people and one of the things they found was they kept losing these really high and graduates that they're getting maybe after a year or two, they would go on and work for a hedge fund or do something different so they brought in a person from mckinsey around analytics, they hired their first cheap analytics officer which many companies are doing to get into the data of how they hired and who survives and thrives at these firms and as i described in the last book there were like 30 elements of the people that had swifts who really survived and thrived and one of the things they noted was that it didn't actually matter where you went to school. as much as they thought. gpadidn't matter as much as they thought . they thought well, we only
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hire people in quantitative majors. leadership didn't matter as much as they thought especially if it was elective area if it was earned leadership that matter a lot, music majors matter a lot. there's a lot of things they wouldn't tell me on how they did that and analysis but one of the things they did is they pre-structure their college recruiting calendar and where they recruited so somebody in the comments mentioned. wall street, certain big law firms would only recruit certain places. what was interesting is they broaden the number of places where they wentrecruiting but did the recruiting ? the people who graduated from all the selected schools so what they found then is somebody who went to harvard would go into another school unnamed and they would they didn't trust the applicants so they would judge parker
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those applicants would never get over the bar to get in so there was the analytics piece of it which then brundage then there was the people peace when they went to do the interviews that couldn't get in so i get why parents think about this. but i think what you have to remember also is that every year you have millions of college graduates , 60,000 of them may be graduating from the most selective schools in this country. we have more than 60,000 jobs out there, yes. is it much harder to get into the wall street firms denmark no doubt about it and if that's your definition of success you should go to these highly selective schools as i mentioned one of these things i trace back in my book is kind of the history of how we got to where we are with these selective schools. i mention in the book, i used to have it right in front of me. i interned at ufc and worked
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on the college rankings and when the editorof the college rankings passed away about a decade ago , his widow gave me all the rankings going back to the late 80s when they started on an annual basis and i picked up as i said in intro to my book the 1990 or 91 edition around the time i would have been looking for colleges and when you look at the acceptance rate of colleges it is around the time a lot of parents had just graduated, you think these are typos because for example the university of pennsylvania in 1990 accepted 42 percent of students, almost half. washington you, 62 percent and now both of those are under 10, under 15, under 10 in most cases. and why is that? most of these places nationalized, this is what northeastern did. they nationalized their recruiting in a way that they
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had before and internationalized it. the other thing we said is the concept of distance changed. somebody on the east coast going to ufc as late as the 1980s seems pretty far away. you didn't have devices like this where your kids could text you all the time. i remember when my sister went to college in the 80s. she had to go down the hall and call us at on a pay phone after 10:00 at nightwhen the rates went down . it was this constant distance and change so you started to get the best students from boston and buffalo and raleigh and miami. now starting to apply to the same set of 10 schools. then you add on top of that the online applications and now suddenly with the press of a button except for georgetown because they're not part of the comeback, you could essentially apply to 10 or 12 schools and it was so
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much easier than i know when i applied and i had to send out multiple applications. all of these things somebody said, so. [inaudible] >> there's one piece and maybe you're getting to it but it's so fascinating and i want to hear you describe it. >> .. that such an insane and unfair thought but like something happen on the college side were you look at the class as a sort
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of well-rounded class as opposed to the student. >> they were looking at the context of the class. one thing i remind applicants is admissions is nothing to do with you. it has everything to do with the priorities of the college. the college in the given year might want more kids from south dakota. they might want more kids who excel maybe they're trying to build their engineering program so the what more kids who excel in s.t.e.m. fields. they might have more narrow ideas, obviously you focus a lot on athletics in the book. the same thing i saw so often in your i was embedded in admissions at the three institutions i was at were athletics, even at emory which is a highly selective urban university in atlanta and it is not division i but they still have all these teams to fill. i remember sitting in one instance i describe in the book where admissions officers not really that excited about the
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applicant of the coach really wants to fill the seat. it's all of these priorities that are coming together and usa applicant, unless you fill that particular priority they need, to be honest with you there's 20 others just like you. that's why you, the branding as you mentioned. you need that different hook. by the other thing about the different hook is passed to match what they want and that's the problem. you might think i have the perfect hook, why am i not getting in? >> but what i i liked about yr book is i feel like it's overall positive book and it gives parents hope. you have this amazing access. believe me know college admission office were talking to me and yet you embedded yourself and were therefore a year and they're like showing your files, amazing. you really got to see their perspective and what it i toy from your boat is you should not
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despair, like and you talk about i'm sure that many parents are tonight who, like why should you not be tearing your hair out and why should you not lose hope in this process? >> first of all i started reporting this book before varsity blues. it would've been very interesting if this happened, varsity blues broke the year i was inside the offices and it was the end end of the cycl. it would've been very interesting if the was the following year and i approached these, whether they would have done it. here's what i give hope, first of all we are talking about when we talk about selective colleges, selective colleges except basically under half of the students who apply. there's only about 200 in the country but there are 200 of them. they are not canned or five or 15. really what i am encouraging parents to do is there's much less of a difference between number 20 in number 40 in some
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rankings than we tend to give it credit for. one of the things that frustrate me in reporting the book is how we tend to think of there's only ten or 12 or 15 schools. if you widen that lends a little bit more it is very possible, very possible to get into these institutions. they don't have an eight person except it rate. they might have 25% acceptance rate which is still really good when you compare to all the institutions out there. the other thing is and i know this after covering colleges for more than 20 years and look at the employer side, is a lot of it matters what you do when you were there. you can get into harvard and do nothing and yes harvard degree will maybe open doors for you but it's not necessarily going to push you through everything in life. it's what you do in college that matters i think a lot more in some cases thing where you go. >> i think what i also liked about you but because my book focuses on a certain class of
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people and you follow different students. some of them went to schools with not a lot of resources, you know, the guidance counselor may be wasn't totally up to speed on what this kid would best -- these are the opposite of kid e kids i was writing about. you had a trip in your book for the ones who were, they were the movers, the ones -- >> the drivers as opposed to the passengers. >> these with the kids from resources and to get on this early and by junior year they are done off-line. where the other kids, just on the time frame standpoint, less behind a bit because it's not even donning of them to apply to college or the don't have their ducks in a row at the beginning of their senior year. you saw that divide when you talk about early decisions. i i love what you said about, yu said, and so that as well as the
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fact early decision has become perhaps the biggest hair pulling out factor in all this. >> nicole, i think the place and a really good question. so why don't we moved to that? somebody asked a question for both of us. some of you we both recognize and its if you could wave a magic wand and change one thing to make a fair without wanting to be? i'm good answer first because it plays right into question you just asking and then i will turn it to you. it would be early decision. so early decision was always a tool for the students who really knew what he wanted to go and just one to be done. what it did starting in about 2008 during the great recession, colleges started to sit home i got great recession hit in the fall, we are not quite sure we will be able to fill a class, although they would have. let's try to lock in as many students as we came. in that one particular year and
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a pointed out in the book it might've accepted maybe before that maybe 20, 25% of the class early. that one jew they year they went up to almost 50, so almost half the class is coming in early because there do i get with the spring was going to be looked like. after that i never went back down. now students and parents got savvy to this and they said to get into these places we have to play early. what happened? more kids started applying early and they started to look at the statistics. it was so interesting the year i was inside this process interviewing students at these highly selective high schools, the private and public religious good high school, and in october they would say i am applying some early i just don't know where. pat toomey showed how the whole process of early decision change from something like why really want to go to something that is trying to game the system tried to figure out where to get in. i don't blame them but it was colleges that really prepped them for that. if i would change anything in
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way that magic wand i would get rid of early decision. never going to happen but that's what i would do. what would you do? >> i will also do a magic wand that will never happen. i think the freshman class sizes need to be enlarged. i think a special universities with enormous endowments like harvard and stanford a $30 billion are sitting on. use that to make the classes bigger and you able to fulfill all of these great things are trying to do like at minimum a diverse class can of the demographics a bit but okay if you still need to kids who can pay full freight to help offset costs let them in. i think the need to get rid of this scarcity issue. there needs to be more and i don't see why not. anyway, , that would be my wish. >> so nicole, what should universities -- let's move onto some of the questions because
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we're getting some good ones. what should universities do to prevent this from happening in the future? somebody asked about blind admissions not even seen anything about what the parents do and who the children are. now that you've been through and inside how this happened, and i'm curious in your reporting, did these colleges really change the process after this or did they put a few things in place and that was the end of it? i'm interested in that, like did colleges really change? and more so from a system-level how might you prevent this from happening? >> the changes i saw put in place were most specifically to do with athletics. that's because that for most of the holes they were exploiting. a lot of schools especially the ones involved in this there are no checks and balances, more fact checking about come before it was like like a coach we his athletic profile and
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admissions people, no one was fact checking it. no one was trying to see or making any attempt to confirm this kid was an athlete. they distrusted the coach. that trust-based system is now gone many of these colleges. on that level there have been a lot of changes but i think the bigger systemic problem we're talking about, no, i don't think so. i don't think so at all. >> do you think maybe not allowing people to see who people are in the admissions process? i'm not sure how that would have prevented -- for example, have someone take the test are people so that wouldn't have really helped necessarily come right? >> actually i had some of the culture who i had this conversation with recently, we're talking about this and this is idea not mine, but you can almost do soon interviews with the students or somewhere and maybe there are not enough people in the admissions office to handle all that because it's tens of thousands of applicants and only like a dozen of these
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admission officers. you could outsource that distrusted to trusted counselors are people in the community just like universities hire readers to do the first past the reading essays in that anything but somehow somewhere for the university to see the student and interact with them for any amount of time to see is this kid serious? does this kid seem like the type of kid that would thrive. or does this seem like some kid that is being pushed to the side door? >> some new selective college and is due alumna in a disguise of us that everything would open it up if they saw there was a alumni interview. they are doing that for the alums to make them feel pretty good about being part of the process in some way. there's a question i wanted to take him because it was a couple people have voted it here. in terms of when to submit s.a.t. scores, other telling us the truth? it's an interesting question.
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this is a question i got last fall when my book came out. before the pandemic more than a thousand colleges were test optional. there were just a few of the very selective network of university of chicago is most selective but most were in new england and then a bunch less selective schools and vendor independent 600 plus more selective colleges with test optional. i think a lot of parents were suspicious last year. here's what i will say now that we're almost to the entire admissions process for this first pandemic class, and that's this. when i talked to admission deans as most of the selective colleges they will tell me that their applications without test scores are running anywhere between 25-50% of applications. 50% that's a lot, even 25% is 5% is a decent amount. they are not through acceptances
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yet but they are mostly running around the same. 25% of class apply with applicant test optional and maybe 25% of acceptances are test optional. what i think this is saying to me is yes, and when they sit test optional. test optional here's the problem because i'm working on a paperback edition of my book and of trying to figure out how come people when decisions are done are colleges going to tell us, other getting -- two things will happen. if they release numbers that show the test optional numbers are really high, in other words, except it's about students test optional and had a lot of applicants test optional what you've seen exit is a a huge rise in applications. they love applications but they don't want way too many because you have to process all. on the other side if they didn't accept a lot of students test optional, maybe had a lot of
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applicants test optional but they didn't accept the people will go back to his question the person ask him like you are not really test optional. i think there's an incentive in so many ways for them not to release that number this year. we may not quite know whether or not the details from these institutions. >> the whole s.a.t., whole test optional thing set admissions kind of into i don't know, it was a little crazy this year with the covid. >> it was and it kind of -- i loved that chapter in your book of what was a come gating escort -- i can't remember what you call the. nailing a score. this person who essentially flew all over the country to take the test, not take the test. they would fill out a fake and he would copy it over afterwards to fill in the right things.
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what i think that showed is what is so true about the s.a.t. is that this person, his name is mark, right? >> yeah. >> he was a good test taker. >> yet. out of a job now. >> yeah, he's out of a job. but that's the think about the s.a.t. and the act is they are not really, they don't necessarily test what's in high school all the time. in fact, one of the interesting things rick clark director of admissions at georgia tech, so great stay in school, right? he said 92% of the test optional kids this year have taken calculus or above in high school. the thing about the s.a.t. is it really doesn't test a lot of calculus. you could add to the questions a lot faster and better if you have calculus but what he is saying is that the test can even having a tepco doesn't give us a much better signal in high school transcript is because with so many kids coming with
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such high, these are high achieving students, with such great high school records. it's not giving us anything more. >> yeah. >> suggest looking at some of the other questions here. we have answered the question of whether this will change the system when limiting the number of schools of incoming freshmen could apply to come could be a solution. they could potentially be a solution i think in terms of that. one of the things i wanted to ask you around the whole book was because this book, because this topic was in the news so much come what surprised you in reporting the book? what thing did you feel like wow, i didn't really realize
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that in all the news coverage immediately after the scandal broke? >> i think it's just what were talking about. i was really surprised at the frustration or just at what college admissions have become because i really come you are someone who covers it in heaven for very long time but this is new to me in a lot of ways. my last memory was applying to college and there were some similarities. it was considered ido know i found hard to get into college but, you know, i didn't sail in. i was obsessed with, i got to take the princeton interview. i thought that was amazing. i am really gaming the system. but just how much it had changed and yeah, the expansion of this whole independent counsel revealed and they feeling that
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these parents, that all the rules were being rewritten. it used to be send your kid you, do this, do that and you are pretty good chance of winding up we want to go but all this was being rewritten. i guess that, that's what i would say. one thing -- go on. >> go ahead. >> one other thing about we were talking about getting rid of s.a.t. how hard do you think this will be for colleges? even though a lot of them are most of them are preaching holistic admissions and it's not about the s.a.t. score, especially for the big public schools. s.a.t. is very valuable in slimming down the numbers delis for a first pass to be like who is in the ballpark and who is not. i wonder how hard it's going be for colleges to lose that convenient number to look at, and with something replace it that is equally unambiguous, i guess? >> i kind of laugh because i'm not quite sure what can replace
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it that is that just as controversial it comes down to a test being so controversial. yes, especially, i think there will be pressure on colleges and universities to bring the test back once this is over by faculty in some places. faculty really controls the process. the faculty report supported testing originally. the report that went to the regions and then the regions moved in different direction and then of course there was a lawsuit that really changed a lot of stuff in the uc system. that will happen in other places as well. faculty will want to go back to testing because they believe the standards that to be upheld and it's only the test i can do that. they would be political pressure outside of the faculty including among lawmakers institute can believe there is some sort of standards with the test and a
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think among the private, alums who will say wait a second, i think it's a very summer to the debate now a student loans. forgiveness. i hate it so why should people get forgiveness? it's the same thing with the test. i took it and have to go through that to get into harvard or whatever so i'm going to -- i think would be a lot of pressure culturally to bring back the test. i would imagine we will see about half the schools do. the other half will say, they will feel that pressure and probably go test optional because in some ways it easier to get more applications that way and things like that. i think that would be pressure for some of these of the schools to go back but not everyone. >> anyone else? >> i think we're running out here. okay, i'll answer this and asked the nyu question and nicole i
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will let you the last word about anything we didn't talk about tonight. i mentioned readers for essays, who are they, how do they fit in? that actually do but remember there giving most of these applications two to five minutes in most of the cases i saw maybe ten minutes was a lot. remember a lot of this is organized in a way they don't see the real application. it comes in electronically to them. somebody is recalculating the gpa, they are seeing the transcript most of the selective colleges have something called committee based evaluation what had to make rid of the team time, split the application in half. for the essay in particular and even recommendations that really steep reading those. they will have one person will be reading those one of the person is look at the transcript and it will summarize as they are going. for most of the essays they are mindnumbing similar. that's one place by the way i think students really could
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focus on and focus less on trying to write an essay that they think the other person on the side of the desk once to read, and more that just gives him a sense of the article much more authentic. most of these essays are not authentic. they read something in an essay book about what should write about for some as a coach or independent counsel tells them what they should write about and it ends up being the essay and is not authentic from 18 year old perspective. so nicole, i will again, i just finished it the full book last week, loved it. it's a page turner and so nicole, anything we haven't talked about that you want to make sure that we point out? >> i have it right here. here's the book. and behind you. >> yes, it is behind the. >> i will invite asking something that ties into something so will thank yo. with these solutions are proposing are not getting of the problem, make anyone's ghost that of another. one conversation i had a lot of
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the constantly came up and will be no surprise to about what is feeding obsession is the rankings, the u.s. world report which you mention. you were there, you were inside that as well. would that help if we stopped ranking these schools? >> it would but you in the magazine business, these rankings make money here can affect u.s. news doesn't even exist as a magazine anymore but it is still making money on the rankings. colleges have tried to stop dissipating in that there can never quite worked. i always tell students and parents, set the rankings are terrible but look at what the rankings are ranking, what their mission. nobody ever looks at the methodology of "u.s. news & world report" rankings. 20% of the methodology, the final ranking is based on a survey of college presidents. if you as a parent think this is what another college president thinks of this school, if you think that's important, and put
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a lot of stock into the "u.s. news & world report" rankings. it's about what percentage of faculty at phds, what percentage of classes are under 20 students. some classes are good to have a choice to do but as i pointed this is a northeastern tried to gain the rankings. they try to make all of the classes and 20 just look better in that piece of the ranking. that's really critically important. in other final thoughts from you before we sign off? >> no. i think you need to read both of her books to see the frustration on one hand and solution on the other to feel that is hope. >> thank you so much. >> thank you so much, nicole and jeff. that was such an insightful talk, thank you to everyone who submitted such thoughtful questions and participate in the chat just glancing at the discussion we had in the chat, it's been fascinating to thank you for everyone who tune in tonight. i didn't to support vroman's
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bookstore please consider purchasing a copy of tonight featured books. click on the green purchase button directly below the viewer screen and it will take you to our website we can complete your purchase. also a replay of of this talk will be available after the broadcast ends so if you tuned in late for you have a friend who is unable to make it tonight just send them the link to the stream and they can watch it. i think that's about covers it. thank you, everyone again and stay safe, everyone. >> you're watching tv on c-span2, and you begin with the latest nonfiction books and authors. gideon c-span2, greater by america's cable-television companies today were brought to you by the television companies who provide booktv to viewers as a public service. >> getting everyone. my name is wier harman,, executive director of


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