As reported by Fox News and other newspapers and media outlets around the country, more and more New York students are facing serious allegations of cheating on the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. While few seem to disagree that these supposed cheaters were wrong to hire others to take the tests for them, few also seem surprised that cheating actually occurred. The allegations themselves raise questions about test site security, but the response of community members points to an even bigger issue; in a sign of the times, people have come to expect rule breaking in an attempt to gain admission to highly selective colleges. With each additional student charged in the scandal, the integrity of thousands of honest test takers seems to come into question.
Unfortunately, in the words of Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, “honest, hardworking students are taking a back seat to the cheaters.” These cheaters are tarnishing the reputation of students like myself who spent weeks preparing for the college entrance exams. The mistakes of a few should never be allowed to negatively affect the perception of many. Like the Greek playwright Sophocles, “I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating,” and I am sure many of my peers feel the same way.