Letter to the Editor: Northwestern should lead a reform of the college admissions system

My husband and I are both alumni of Northwestern. We are deeply saddened that Northwestern has been tied to this jaw-dropping college admissions scandal. Our oldest daughter just went through the grueling, heart-wrenching college admissions process last year. To read now about this “side door” that some wealthy elites in this country employ to cheat the process, and how Northwestern admitted a student who cheated on the ACT to get a score that is still far lower than what our daughter achieved through her own hard work and perseverance — is both upsetting and disappointing.

The college admissions process is broken. We hope that Northwestern takes this incident as a wake-up call to help lead the nation’s colleges in reforming the broken system. There needs to be a cap on the number of colleges that students can apply to, so that colleges aren’t having to wade through 40,000 applications for 1,200 spots in the freshman class. Transparent criteria that are more concrete than the intentionally vague “wholistic approach” need to be implemented. A colorblind system for admission also is imperative. We expect more from you, Northwestern. Please show us that you will make changes to ensure that the dream of attending Northwestern is a level playing field for every prospective student.

— Haley Hwang, J’93, GJ 94 (née Mi Young Pae)