(That’s always how they’d think of it — their kid already had a hypothetical “spot” that was going to be “taken away from them” in favor of a student from a more diverse background.)Because I loved my school, it was easy to sell it to students and their parents.Yes, there were a lot of dumb, rich blockheads there — including the heir to a sandwich shop fortune, probably the stupidest person I’ve ever met in my life — but I’d also found community with a small group of brilliant students from the US and around the world, many of whom had been admitted on grants and scholarships and had to work twice as hard to prove themselves worthy of their presence there. So on my tours, in interviews, and on my school visits, I emphasized the good and downplayed the bad.After the busy fall season of interviews and school visits wound down, my fellow admissions counselors and I had to review applications.We were all given a certain number of applications and assigned scores based on a system that distributed different weights to different elements of a student’s profile: grades, standardized test scores, curriculum rigor, cultural fit, extracurriculars, etc.But it quickly became clear to me that, even though we were given the space to write specific arguments in favor of or against a certain student, the system we used for determining eligibility for admittance was breathtakingly inadequate, unequal, and dehumanizing.And yet the members of my wealthy, majority-white town, and the parents of kids from other wealthy, majority-white towns I visited as an admissions counselor, were far more worried about race-conscious affirmative action policies that aim to increase the numbers of underrepresented races in college student bodies.It’s long since driven me nuts that so many white middle- and upper-middle-class people who oppose affirmative action can look at a news story like Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli allegedly paying 0,000 to get their daughters into USC as crew recruits, even though they didn’t row crew, and fail to see a clear and distinct connection to the legal, socially acceptable ways wealthier people will stop at nothing to get their children into elite American schools.The real scourge of higher education isn’t affirmative action, but wealthy families who will pay any price to prioritize their own children and keep their family’s elite status alive.So whenever another college admissions scandal blows through the news — as it has this week, with the exposure of a massive college admissions scam involving celebrities and CEOs cheating and bribing their way into admissions acceptances for their children — I think about my brief stint as a college admissions counselor and am filled with rage and sadness anew.I applied there early decision, suspecting that my status as a good-but-not-great student and white girl who needed financial aid might hinder my prospects during regular admission.(Like some other mid- to upper-tier schools, mine was “need-sensitive,” meaning that admissions might factor a student’s ability to pay during down-to-the-wire acceptance decisions.) Three years later, when I graduated, I was happy to encourage other students to follow in my footsteps.