To my students, a response to the admission scandal

My students,

This past week’s college admission scandal nationally highlighted a corrupted fraudulent scheme that outed families for upping the stakes in a decision to cheat the system.

As you log into your application portals and unfold letters of admission decisions, keep this in mind. You live in a world that is unlike anything else. You live in a world where it can feel like an admission decision is the most defining moment of your lives. A world where a denial letter feels like the end of the road and an alternate path that is less successful. It is understandable to feel slighted, even angry at the past week’s admission scandal. Feeling like the game isn’t fair. The work you’ve put into your honors courses, that AP class you took to challenge yourself that left you up into the night when your body was begging you for sleep. The hours that you spent on the weekend working your part time job, volunteering or editing videos for your high school newscast. The relationships you formed with your counselors and teachers as they guided you towards your decisions and ultimately wrote you letters of recommendation. It may feel not worth it at all. I get that. I absolutely get that.

But here’s the thing. You’ve stood on your own two feet, set your alarms, got up in the morning and tackled each day regardless of the nutty schedule. You have put in more work than most. You have thrown yourself into new and uncomfortable situations to grow, learn and adapt. You’ve presented yourself in an application process that may not turn out how you expected. You put hours into writing essays sharing your experiences, challenges and insights. You have given up nights with friends to work. You have built a solid foundation of work that will continue you well beyond college. You have navigated a crazy world full of more distractions than ever before, and you have succeeded.

Regardless of the admission decisions in your letter or your application portal. Regardless of the college you choose. You have succeeded. You have every right to feel slighted. But you also have every right to celebrate. Celebrate the honest work-ethic you have built that will follow you throughout life. Celebrate that you’ve embraced failure and come out stronger because of it.

Every day that you wake up and question yourself, question the system or even your purpose, remind yourself that you are worth more because you are more. Don’t ever stop embracing challenge or failure. Don’t ever give up because you feel cheated. Don’t ever forget the merit you have built. In the end you will be remembered for what you have built on your own two feet. A lifetime of experiences built by you. You have the power to choose more than you think. So what will you choose? I cannot wait to see.

3 responses to “To my students, a response to the admission scandal”

  1. Avatar

    Thanks again counselor Rowley, I forwarded this to my son Cameron, he got accepted to UVA and he earned it!  Jeff  


  2. Martha Ranirez Avatar
    Martha Ranirez

    Thank you Counselor Rowley. This is a very nice letter. My daughter Manuela it’s just in 9 grade. But is very encouraging for them to know that all the efforts are worthy.


  3. Thank you Miss Rowley. This means a lot. I know you and so many BHHS teachers and staff have truly made a difference for both of my high schoolers. I deeply thank you.

    Work ethic and integrity is what will make the life long difference.


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