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How artificial intelligence can help prevent college admissions fraud


Reports show that over 50 families were involved in an elaborate scheme of bribery to place their children in America’s top universities. Some of these students were falsely advertised as athletes, even if they had never played a sport. Among notable names in the guilty party are actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. In order to understand how fraud can be prevented, it must first be assessed how this system has functioned. 

The Problem:

The scandal was operated through the admissions prep company The Key, and was overseen almost entirely by CEO William Rick Singer. Singer operated this admissions scheme with two options. Interested parties could either bribe test proctors to forge SAT and ACT scores, or take advantage of college coaching bribery to admit students using fake athletic credentials. In some cases, individual bribery exceeded $1.3 Million USD. 
The cultural response has been just about unanimous, as frustration from society places pressure onto college admission teams to ensure fraud and bribery is absent in the process of applying to university. Though moral faults in the admissions system are tricky to spot, Artificial Intelligence and smarter technology will play a vital role in fraud protection in the future. 

How to Come About a Solution:

The first step that can be effective is already partially in motion: online standardized testing. Test Proctors are highly susceptible to bribery as they are typically of low incomes and low motivation. By computerizing the SAT and ACT, rather than facilitating the exams on paper, College Board can use Proctor Caching, a software filter and recognition system, as a safeguard mechanism for preventing cheating and test falsification. These filtering methods will make fraud on standardized testing very difficult, as the observation of tests can rely on artificial intelligence instead of individual test proctors. 
In addition, advancements in social media can play a role in preventing fraud of athletic ability, as high school sport-specific applications in the market can help assure admitted student athletes are honest. With dozens of apps focused on student highlight reels, and nearly unanimous public access to simple filming, mandating a profile of athletic videos, statistics, and highlight reels allows for colleges to catch fraudulent submissions more easily. This accountability is common in other admissions aspects; for example any art student applying for scholarships can be expected to submit a detailed portfolio of their work. Perhaps it is time to hold athletes to the same standard. 
There is also an ability to cut off the problem at the beginning of the process, with AI-driven matching tools that will scan the candidates’ background and assure that they are a good fit for the program to which they are applying. GradTrain has developed the first AI based admissions predictor and has been able to match students with universities at an accuracy rate of close to 90%. The AI model allows for continuous improvement, as the prediction continues to improve based on empirical outcomes data from the candidates who use the system. 

In the age of technological revolution, it is no surprise that artificial intelligence poses value to admissions fraud protection. However, this can only go as far as the public pushes it. In order to prevent college admissions scandals in the future, it is imperative that society places a harsh standard on fair play in the application process, as cultural pressure has shown time and again to insinuate better corporate behavior. Though corruption still looms, with technology and collective societal pressure, college admissions will hopefully move in the right direction. 

If you have any questions about your college admissions prospects, or want advice on how to get accepted to university without committing fraud, visit the GradTrain website

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