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Fake Disabilities Are Becoming the New College Admissions Scam

Fake Disabilities Are Becoming the New College Admissions Scam

“celebrity scandal revealed that mastermind William Singer leveraged false disability diagnoses to help his wealthy clients game the system”

Just like campus hoaxes, this sort of thing hurts the people who are really struggling with these issues.

The Washington Examiner reports:

The new college admissions scam: Fake ‘disability’ diagnoses

It’s safe to say scrutiny of our higher education system has heightened since the well-known celebrity college admissions scandal broke earlier this year. But there’s a new focus for those seeking to end abuse of the system: testing accommodations for those with diagnosed disabilities.

Investigations in the wake of the celebrity scandal revealed that mastermind William Singer leveraged false disability diagnoses to help his wealthy clients game the system. He first instructed families to get their children evaluated by a psychologist to obtain a learning disability diagnosis. Then, Singer used the solitary rooms test administrators grant for these diagnoses to help his clients cheat on the SAT and ACT.

Though Singer’s efforts earned him infamy and criminal charges, these tactics are not uncommon. Many other parents are pulling the same scam in a less obvious (and not-yet-illegal) way.

The prevalence of learning disability diagnoses has risen sharply over the last five years. Currently, 1 in 5 students have diagnosed “learning and attention issues such as dyslexia and ADHD,” according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities. A whopping 39% of students receive some sort of special education for their learning disability.

Here’s the tell: These learning disability diagnoses are disproportionately concentrated in wealthy communities.

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Comments

This technique of using phony disabilities to game the system has been around for many years. When I was at Harvard, it was common knowledge that most of the pre-med preppies from the elite schools had to be given twice as much time as the other students on the exams.

The advisers at the elite prep schools would have their pre-med students go to certain psychologists and get a diagnosis that, under the ADA, gave them double time on the exams. When you go to write recommendations for these students, you can’t legally mention that they got double time on the exams.

That’s why I always gave unlimited-time exams. It was fun to watch the face on a pre-med preppie when he said “I get double time on the exams,” and I would reply, “You get as much time as you want, just like everyone else.” Some of them were really mad that they didn’t get a leg up on the other students. They depended on that advantage to get the grades that would get them into medical school.

nordic_prince | August 16, 2019 at 7:19 pm

Yup – using these “disabilities” to get unfair advantages is nothing new. I saw it all the time as an adjunct at the community college. It was interesting to see the students coming straight out of high school wanting to get their special accommodations who, upon finding out that since they were no longer in high school and thus had to pay for their own testing and diagnosis, decided that they really didn’t need special accommodations as much as they thought they did.

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