Pomona, CMC add new admissions checks for athletes after admissions scandal

Pomona College and Claremont McKenna College updated their admissions procedures in response to last spring’s cheating scandal. (Courtesy: Alberto G. via Flickr)

In the wake of last spring’s college admissions scandal, in which wealthy parents allegedly paid to have their children admitted to schools using fraudulent athletic credentials and arranged to help them cheat on standardized tests, Pomona College and Claremont McKenna College have added new checks in their admissions processes for athletes, officials said.

Pomona’s admissions office is requiring coaches to provide URLs verifying prospective students’ athletic skills from an outside source such as the student’s high school, Seth Allen, dean of admissions and financial aid, said in an email to TSL.

“The [college admissions] scandal spotlighted the issue of relying solely on an athletic coach’s assessment and this change will aid in protecting the integrity of the admissions process,” Allen said.

He added that Pomona will continue its previous practice of doing additional research on applicants’ extracurriculars when the admissions committee has “questions about activities.”

CMC will also be seeking additional verification for athletic recruits.

“Last spring, we reviewed our practices, confirmed their integrity and re-committed to carefully validating applicant credentials,” associate vice president for admission and financial aid Jennifer Sandoval-Dancs said in a statement to TSL. “We have added additional checks for specific circumstances, such as asking high school counselors to confirm athletic participation for recruits.”

The Key, a college preparatory consulting firm, allegedly facilitated the fraudulent activities in the so-called ‘Varsity Blues’ scandal.

Both CMC and Harvey Mudd College were featured on The Key’s website as “success stories” for The Key clients in 2009, and a testimonial from a current CMC parent praising the company appeared on the site.

CMC said a review initiated last spring after the testimonial was discovered found no students had presented “false admissions credentials or inappropriate actions by private counselors,” according to Sandoval-Dancs.

HMC has not made any formal changes to its application procedures in response to the scandal, but the school is “working more closely with the [Claremont-Mudd-Scripps] coaches to verify students’ participation in sports and may also consider doing spot checks on other activities that are reported as part of a student’s application,” Director of Admission Peter Osgood said in an email to TSL.

Pitzer College reviews its admissions processes annually, spokesperson Anna Chang said in an email to TSL, but did not specify whether the college had made any changes this year in light of the scandal.

Scripps College did not change its admissions process this year, Vice President for Enrollment Victoria Romero said in a statement to TSL.

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