College Admissions in the News: Can Kids Really Get a Fair Shake?

Dad and college-bound daughter looking at a school pamphlet

Can kids really get a fair shake when they’re applying to college? 

That’s the question posed to our own Bright Horizons Vice President Beth Heaton on Good Morning America

Who can blame parents for asking? The odds of a child getting into that dream school seem pretty long on a good day. Today, in the wake of the admissions scandal heard ‘round the world, the deck feels positively stacked – against.  

Disheartening as the news is, it’s not as hopeless as it feels. “We’re talking about such a small number,” Beth, who works on our education and college advising benefit told GMA. 

As a former admissions officer at University of Pennsylvania, Beth has perspective, having thoughtfully read thousands of applications. “It’s notable as of right now no admissions people have been implicated,” she said. “And I know that my former colleagues and I certainly took our mission very seriously, 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,” she said. “And I don’t think that’s changed.“

Still, families without the wherewithal for private help (the legal kind, as another GMA guest put it… without bribery) can be forgiven for feeling doubtful, and at a disadvantage. In the best of circumstances, questions about essays and extra-curricular activities loom large. Parents aren’t just worried about having the right answer – they’re also worried the wrong answer will mess things up. It’s one of the reasons Forbes called corporate-sponsored admissions help, “The best employee benefit that you are likely not getting.”  

“There are companies that offer what we’re doing as a free benefit,” said Beth of Bright Horizons’ employer-sponsored educational advising. The program operates right through the company portal and includes a team of former admissions officers who answer employee questions, provide one-on-one guidance, and even review essays – all free to employees. 

“Everyone is stressed about planning for college, and not sure when they need to worry or start thinking about it,” said one parent who used it. “The customized timeline takes the guesswork out of it.”

Watch the whole GMA interview, here.

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

March 14, 2019

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.