The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

SAT pressures spur six to cheat

Nancy Younan, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, studies for the LSAT. Photo by Elise Krivit/[email protected].

SAT training classes: $300. Private tutored sessions: $50. Ducking out of taking the SAT college entrance exam like many high school students dream of? Priceless.

This was the plan for six high school teenagers from Long Island, N.Y. who paid Sam Eshaghoff, 19, a freshman at Emory University in Atlanta, between $1,500 and $2,000 to take their SAT exams for them, according to Fox News.

Eshaghoff was arraigned on charges of planned fraud, criminal impersonation and falsifying business records, according to the Nassau County (Long Island) District Attorney’s Office. His bail was set at a $1,000 bond or $500 cash, but his attorney Matin Emouna, said his client has “cooperated with investigation and denied the charges,” according to Fox News.

The District Attorney’s Office said the identities of the six students who paid Eshaghoff have not been released due to the fact they are minors, but Eshaghoff is scheduled for a court hearing within the next few weeks. The six students involved in the SAT scam were released on their own recognizance, according to Fox News.

Robert Blust, dean of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Marquette, said many students are consumed with the idea that only one university is their perfect fit. Blust also recognized other pressures.

“I think a lot of pressure is self-inflicted,” Blust said. “But many times, it is a result of family pressures or students trying to keep up with their peers.”

Blust said that in the past, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has pulled acceptances based on test scores that were deemed invalid as a result of dishonesty or other unknown causes.

“There is a range of academic misconduct steps we take in admissions” he said. “At Marquette, if such an instance occurred, we have the right to deny the student.”

However, Blust stressed the importance of suspected students’ rights. He said situations involving criminal charges and court cases are subject to different appeals, and waiting to see how situations “play out” is valuable since students do have the right to appeal.

Laura Kestner, director of the Career Services Center, said that although the students’ reputations may be tarnished, they are young and the opportunity still exists to rebuild themselves.

“If a student came into my office, I would do anything possible to help them communicate to a possible employer,” Kestner said, referring to the students’ post-scandal career options. “Such actions do not reflect well on them or their futures, however.”

Marquette students like Ansel Bodelson, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, recognize the pressures high school students feel to achieve high standardized test scores.

“Most students view these tests as the determining factor for what colleges they can get into,” Bodelson said in an email. “They spend countless hours and large sums of money to ensure that they do well on them.”

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