When the system is rigged: What to know the about college admissions process

In the wake of the high-profile college admissions cheating scandal, experts weigh in on what parents and children should know as they apply to colleges.
4:19 | 03/13/19

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Transcript for When the system is rigged: What to know the about college admissions process
And we have more on that college admissions scam and what you can do to make sure your kids get a fair shake. Davin Sweeney is here with Elizabeth Heaton. Good morning to you both. Thanks for being here. We have been talking about the inequity, the privilege, college has always been competitive. The admissions process has always been competitive. This is your wheelhouse. But I think the question so many families have is can their kids get a fair shake if they don't have the means that these families in the news today have? Yeah, I mean I still think we're talking about such a small number of applicants and, yeah, I do believe. It's notable as of right now no admission people have been implicated and I know my former colleagues and I certainly took my mission very strongly about reading every application and taking in that student's experience and really trying to advocate for them. In admissions you look for reasons to admit and I don't think that has changed. And so I do think that that system does still work. We are dealing with a group of elite schools right here. What's your best advice for parents and kids who want to get into those schools and want a fair shake. Unfortunately I think the truth is sort of annoying which is be yourself, you know, present your best, most authentic of that self in the application process. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people who are, you know, 17, 18 years old aren't sure who they are and what that authentic version of themself is. There are a lot of grown-ups who probably don't know who they are but our job and those who work what them, help tease that out and put that in the process and do so legally without bring people millions of dollars and things like that. Are there they tangible things parent, students can do. We talked about test preps that people with more means have access to. What else can you do if you don't have that kind of money. There are actually a lot of free resources out there. So khan academy has students free to prep for the S.A.T., the price of a book you can purchase and do some work, test prep that way. We have a free blog and a podcast where we're offering lots of information to families that might not be able to afford to work with an outside counselor, so there are companies who offer what we're doing as a free benefit so you might want to actually check with your company to see if that's something that available. I wonder if you can help lower the anxiety. There's this feeling that among a lot of people that if you don't get into usc or don't get into wake forest or Yale, boy, your future is really narrowly constricted. That's not necessarily true. Absolutely not. I think it marys and there's a lot of data to suggest it matters much more what you do when you go to college. What you major in than where all of that takes place. You know, you get out of the college experience what you put into it and, you know, there are 3,000 or 4,000 options for students in this country so that paradox of choice is really difficult to, you know, work your way through and so what we do is use the shorthand of the rankings list to say those are good and everything below that is bad and I would challenge everybody to sort of reimagine what good school means. I think students, unfortunately, you'll run into your parents' friends and they'll ask you where are you going to college and you'll roll your eyes then rattle off the list of schools where you'll go to college and they'll go, oh, that's really good. That's a good school and I think what you guys should do is turn back on them and say, how do you know? I think you're going to see some shocked looks on their face because that's a hard question to answer. I think as a society we have a hard time answering that question, so we just ask that families do their due diligence, right? The best school for you. The best school for you. The best fit and to your point, it's having a balanced list, not always just wanting the schools that don't want you. I don't know what that is about us as a society that we want the club that doesn't want us to join, right? You don't want to embrace the schools that might be really wanting to embrace you. Good place to end on. Thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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