The Neurotic Parent and USA TODAY have managed to get ahold of the transcript of a conversation between a desperate aspiring Ivy League parent and a cooperating witness from Key Worldwide Foundation, the organization that pocketed $25 million in bribe money to get children into elite colleges. Here is the transcript in its entirety:
Desperate Parent: Hi, I’m calling from the set of a new Hulu romcom and I’m looking for a college counselor for my son. One of my co-stars recommended your service.
Cooperating Witness: Of course. We’re delighted to hear that you have your son’s best interests at heart.
Desperate Parent: Yeah, he’s a good kid. And such a pro at Fortnite. But he panics when he takes tests, even though he’s not that bad at HQ.
Cooperating Witness: I feel you.
Desperate Parent: This ACT he’s about to take will affect his whole life. We made sure he got into the best kindergarten, and then an amazing private school…thanks to my agent. She sent out a memo to the whole agency to find out who was on the board.
Read more commentary:
Cooperating Witness: That’s what agents are for!
Desperate Parent: But when we went to Malawi last summer so he could found an orphanage, he failed the drug test because of one little edible he needed for the plane. The system just isn’t fair!
Cooperating Witnesss: Of course not. It’s never been. Why should one exam or one transgression influence his whole future? What he needs is extra time - double time! triple time! We can arrange that. And in case twelve hours in our state-of-the-art facility isn’t enough, our compassionate proctors will help him get his numbers up.
Desperate Parent: He tanked on his third ACT and got a 21, so it might be a red flag if the score was above a 32. Or maybe a 33.
Cooperating Witness: We’ll aim for the 31-32 range.
Desperate Parent: Will that get him into Yale? Or his safety, Wesleyan?
Cooperating Witness: Once we tweak his GPA, teacher recs, essays and extracurriculars, it will. He rows crew, right?
'We take PayPal and Venmo'
Desperate Parent: Um…he shops at J. Crew. And we went kayaking in Maui when he was nine.
Cooperating Witness: That counts. Just send us a photo of him on the beach wearing an unstructured jacket. That, along with 400k wired to Gluten Anonymous will entice the coach. We take PayPal and Venmo.
Desperate Parent: But what if he gets in and doesn’t actually join the crew team? Won’t they notice that he’s out partying at 5am instead of rowing? He is an influencer on instagram and someone might notice.
Cooperating Witness: No worries. Everybody quits crew the first semester anyway. It’s too cold in Connecticut to even think about going near a river; they’ll understand.
Desperate Parent: My husband said I was going overboard with the micromanaging. But all students get help from parents, right?
Cooperating Witness: Of course. For a while those affirmative action kids were taking all the spots. Now diverse students are getting in legitimately, go figure. The middle class can no longer afford the elite schools so there’s less competition, but we still have to do what we have to do. As long as U.S. News & World Reports randomly ranks schools, parents will lie and cheat so their kids don’t go somewhere embarrassing.
'Top schools are begging us to cheat'
Desperate Parent: Yeah! The top schools all send brochures enticing my son to apply so they can turn him down and their rankings will go up. If nobody ranked the schools, my husband and I might be okay with sending him to one of the 3500 institutions where he could still get a fine education. Those top schools are basically begging us to cheat.
Cooperating Witness: This is age old. Who hasn’t given their kids a boost? How is this any different from getting inspiration from Nelson Mandela or Gloria Steinen for essays. Or asking your guru for a rec from the Dalai Lama.
Desperate Parent: So it’s not cheating! It’s just gaming the system, no worse than what Jared Kushner’s parents did.
Cooperating Witness: Back in the day, you put your name on a building to get your kid in, but there were no guarantees. Today, you can pay a legit counselor $3500, hold your breath and pull strings. Or you can give us $6 mil and rest easy, because we guarantee admission to your kid’s first-choice school.
Desperate Parent: The bottom line is I want my guy to have every opportunity that hardworking, qualified kids have.
Cooperating Witness: Trust us, that can be arranged. And we’ll even find a suitable tutor, because once he gets in it could be….challenging. But what isn’t challenging about being a young person these days? Or even worse, a concerned parent.
Judy Rothman Rofé is the author of "The Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Helicoptering, Hot-housing & Micromanaging" and The Neurotic Parent. Follow her on Twitter: @neurotic_parent
You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Satire: What were Loughlin, Huffman & other parents thinking in college admission scandal?