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Palo Alto couple to plead guilty in college admissions scandal

Original post made on Dec 2, 2021

A Palo Alto couple charged with paying to cheat on their son's college entrance exam have agreed to plead guilty after a long-running saga that saw them facing trial, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 2, 2021, 9:51 AM

Comments (14)

Posted by Puffin
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 2, 2021 at 10:55 am

Puffin is a registered user.

I'm pretty sure none of them will go to prison.


Posted by TorreyaMan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 2, 2021 at 11:08 am

TorreyaMan is a registered user.

I believe quite a few have gone to prison, albeit for relatively short terms such as a few months.


Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2021 at 11:20 am

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

One's reputation as a person of self-disciplined ethical character is one's most valuable asset in life. Prison will be a lighter punishment than the aftermath of this highly publicized crime. This choice will haunt them the rest of their lives. As it should. They did the wrong thing because they could--without a thought for others or for the broken values they were teaching their son though their actions. Their place in society will be changed forever. What person of good character will want to associate with them ever again? What well-run business will want them in a leadership role? As they say, "Teach your children well."


Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 2, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Hulkamania is a registered user.

"I'm pretty sure none of them will go to prison." Club Fed.

"What person of good character will want to associate with them ever again?" Money talks.


Posted by Rose
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 2, 2021 at 12:35 pm

Rose is a registered user.

I know the Colburn family. This is a most unfortunate misstep and the publicity is so damaging.
They are a lovely family, talented and proper. I feel for them and know if they had it to do again, they would not have taken this path to higher education for their son.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 2, 2021 at 1:00 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

If only realtors and the greed of property moguls could be investigated with their inflated out of balance capitalistic pricing in a “free market”. Example: No cap on bids over asking price for a property. Cheating in exchange the decency to live as a regular human in California goes way beyond test scores and getting into top universities. The sharks are going after the skinny bait.


Posted by III
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 2, 2021 at 2:08 pm

III is a registered user.

Neither are "bad" people.
Their ego to have their child go to a school that
was not qualified for is a insult to my hard work
(and others) to get into a quality college.
I did 2 full years at Foothill College, Varsity Sports,
3.5 GPA at Foothill. Lot of effort to qualify to move on.
DO THE WORK and EARN IT...
Colburn parents denying for over 3 years what they did.
Again the audacity and ego they have...
Not "BAD" people.
Just think are better that we are I guess.
Roll on you Bears....
III


Posted by dontliveinCA
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2021 at 3:12 pm

dontliveinCA is a registered user.

I always wonder if the kids knew about what their parents did. If they did know, shame on them! If they didn't know, how must it feel to think your parents thought you weren't smart enough to get into a good college! I know things have changed over the years, but gimme a break. No way I ever thought about trying to "help" my kids get into a good college....they did, but did so on their own. Feel sorry for the kids with parents who didn't respect them.


Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2021 at 4:04 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

I feel sorry for these kids too. My guess would be the kids don't know what their parents are up to. Parents don't explain themselves to their children. Not only is this illegal and totally immoral, it's helicopter parenting on steroids. Cheating their way into college... and what will your child do when he/she can't compete academically? Drop or fail out? Parents like this are misguided. They have no faith in their child's ability, nor should every child go to college. Parent's need to accept this, regardless of their education level. You need to earn your way into college. "Legacy admissions" are unfair too, but they're not illegal.


Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 2, 2021 at 6:48 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

Just goes to show that GREED has no end.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 2, 2021 at 6:55 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

Consequences are in order. Cheating other people.


Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 2, 2021 at 8:02 pm

Samuel L is a registered user.

III - Well said.
Rose - "They are a lovely family, talented and proper. I feel for them and know if they had it to do again, they would not have taken this path to higher education for their son." What does this even mean? "Proper"? "Talented"? No, they thought they could work the system because they had the money to do so. They did not feel that their son had the qualifications to get into a school that would enable them to still be considered "talented" and "proper" among their friends, so they paid to give it a better chance of happening. They believe that they have more right to that spot than someone who might actually have to work for it.

They deserve any and all damaging publicity.

I would bet that you are correct in that after going through this they would not take this path again, but they have already shown their true colors and they chose to try to game the system and got caught.

"Victimless" crimes are not necessarily victimless.


Posted by Chris G Zaharias
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2021 at 9:44 am

Chris G Zaharias is a registered user.

"Your Name" Poem -JG Howard

You got it from your Father,
it was all he had to give.
So it's yours to use and cherish
for as long as you may live.

If you loose the watch he gave you,
it can be replaced,
but a black mark on your name, Son,
can never be erased.

It was clean the day you took it...
and a worthy name to bear,
when he got it from his Father,
there was no dishonor there.

So make sure you guard it wisely,
after all is said and done,
you'll be glad the name is spotless,
when you give it to your child.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 6, 2021 at 7:12 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Didn’t the “kids” in all these Varsity Blues cases sign their own college apps? Didn’t they know where they were applying, what their essay stated, what extra-curriculars were listed or described? If they were age 18 or up (many of them, I would surely think), they should also be charged.
They may not have known their parents, for another example - not this family - made a massive donation to the Stanford sailing team (anyone would find odd, including the “kid,” if s/he had any logic), but they KNEW they weren’t sailors or rowers (USC), etc…or some of the other preposterous claims.


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