Today, we have a guest post from Ayinde Alleyne, BEAM’s College Support Coordinator. Ayinde wrote the message below and sent it to all our students currently enrolled in college. His perspective is clear and powerful so we wanted to share it with you.
By now, I believe most of you have heard of the College Admission Scandal that made the news last week. For those who haven't, the Justice Department has charged 50 people with participating in a multi million-dollar bribery scheme to get affluent, connected students into highly competitive colleges.
We have a lot of thoughts about this at BEAM, and I'm sure that many similar discussions are happening at your colleges. I did want to share a specific thought I had with all of you.
From the moment I was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania, I dealt with many versions of the idea that I didn't earn my admission. Some of those ideas came from others: hearing many factually incorrect comments about affirmative action, constantly being questioned about my grades. Some came from myself: withdrawing from an intro chemistry course my first semester, getting two Ds the next semester.
The exposure of a scandal like this makes me think about the hours you all work and sacrifices you and your families have made. Things like this provide proof that there are people who did not earn their place in college, and if anyone ever asks, use this to remind them that those people are not you.
I wanted to leave you all with an article I felt captured the culture of pressure that has been created around one version of success.
The Atlantic: “Kids Are the Victims of the Elite-College Obsession”
BEAM students and families: please reach out if you want to talk about any aspect of this.
Ayinde was recently named as a 2019 PASEsetter, a champion of afterschool education. At the awards banquet, Ayinde shared his story, which you can watch here.