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Good Guys and Bad Guys: College Admissions Scandal

 

Jeanne Gosselin has more than 30 years of experience in the higher education marketplace. She has served in various roles within admissions, enrollment, and enrollment marketing at such institutions as Hofstra University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, SUNY Cortland, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and Bay Path University. Jeanne holds a B.A. in English Communications from North Adams State College and an M.S. Ed. from Hofstra University. Her blog represents her own professional and personal thinking on the admissions scandal issue and does not reflect the collective views of Paskill Stapleton & Lord.

When training college recruiters on the art of the close, I always remind them that first of all this is not a sale at any cost, and secondly, we sell with a level of integrity that goes beyond any sales process because our product is higher education. Whether in the field for two years or more than 20, most of us think higher education sets a high bar in professional ethics.

Details of what has allegedly transpired amongst some parents, college coaches, and someone who calls himself a “consultant” has become headlines. This person and his associates are accused of paying off coaches, forging test scores, paying people to takes tests for college prospects, and falsifying admission application credentials.

I am not naïve. Higher education has had its share of scandal and people who have bent the rules so far as to compromise professional ethics. Some have broken the law, and some have been found guilty by our legal system and punished for their wrongdoings. This latest scandal hits home for me more than headlines of the past because the person at the center of it all calls himself a “consultant.”

As a marketing and enrollment consultant that works to assist colleges in making their enrollment goals it bothers me that he uses the same title. More worrisome, is that he and his associates tarnish the name of ethical, well-intentioned consultants who help parents find the right school for their sons and daughters. These consultants look at the talents and desires of the young person and find a good fit at a choice college. There are many of these consultants around and they tend to have a clientele that has means; people who hire them can afford to do so, and are expecting in return that the consultant will guide the family and the applicants accordingly to get into the best college.

We know from the news stories that it was an investigation into one coach at one prominent university that led investigators to the more than 30 current investigations and the leader of this consulting organization.

There are big differences between what these good people do and what has been alleged and making headlines. It is called ethics. My experience has been that the vast majority of people I have met and worked with in higher education are good, honest people both in college admissions and those who serve as consultants.

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Jeanne Gosselin,

Born and raised in the Northeast, Jeanne graduated with a B.A. from North Adams State College and an M.S.Ed. from Hofstra University. "The world of digital communication and social media gives us so much to work with when approaching prospects. The tricky part is finding a way to have real conversations."