“Where did your friend, Jake, get in?”
“He was the only one in our class who got into Stanford!”
“Stanford! Wow! Was he on the rowing team in his high school?”
I was listening in on my friend’s family discussion. Their son had been accepted to a very prestigious university. However, his first choice was Stanford and he was rejected. He joined a long list of very well qualified high school seniors whose dreams were shattered by a rejection from this elite school. Although the last question was stated in jest, the news of the college admissions scandal cast a dark shadow over the usual excitement of acceptance day.
There will always be some raised eyebrows when a classmate, deemed less than competitive, gets accepted into a prestigious top-tier university. The inevitable push back from classmates may include statements such as, “But I had better grades and SAT scores than him and did more volunteer activities!” or “She must have had family connections.” The truth is that all colleges have their own agenda and are looking for applicants to complete it. Like a movie producer orchestrating a production, they are looking for specific applicants to fill a designated role. At least, this is the narrative that has been presented to the general public.
This confidence in the admissions process was completely shattered with the college admissions scandal which was exposed in 2019. Wealthy parents bribed various college personnel and bought an admission for their child, cheating the system. The notorious story of students being accepted on an athletic scholarship for rowing, even when they never participated in the sport during high school, was a slap in the face to thousands of applicants who played by the rules. It was a rude awakening to learn that this was not a level playing field and confirmed what many people had already suspected, the system was rigged. It led to the arrest and conviction of numerous parents as well as the ringleader, Rick Singer. Ironically, although numerous administrative officials and athletic coaches were charged, none of the colleges that participated in these bribes and scams were held accountable nor did they face any fines or reprimands. One wonders if the system remains rigged?
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:23-26 (NKJV)
The Jews felt if someone was rich, they were blessed by God This is why this statement of Jesus shocked them. If a rich person, presumably blessed by God, would have a difficult time getting into heaven, what hope would there be for the rest of us? Is there a hidden criterion? Is the system rigged?
The admissions scandal showed that the institutions of man will always be susceptible to temptation and sin. Only the Church of Jesus Christ will prevail. This is why Jesus stated, with men, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Salvation is not rigged. Not by wealth, good deeds, or the works of man will one have salvation and eternal life. There is no hidden criterion. It is only by confessing and repenting of one’s sins and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will salvation be granted by God.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.