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After The Admissions Scandal, Students In The Shadows Of USC Wonder: Will They Get In?

Anthony Ramirez worried about how the admissions officers at his dream school, the University of Southern California, would judge him. His home lies a short drive from the school, but in his neighborhood, there are far more high school dropouts than college graduates.

Neither of his parents, immigrants from Chiapas, Mexico, attended college, and none of his older siblings finished. The family of six lives in a cozy, two-bedroom house, with Anthony and three siblings sharing a small bedroom. Even though he is a talented student who pours his spare time into learning computer coding, he was worried he would be judged for his modest upbringing.

For students who have grown up in the shadow of USC and were fighting against all odds to get in, the college admissions scandal that broke last month struck a deeply personal note. Fifty people were arrested, many of them wealthy Angelenos who prosecutors allege paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to help their children cheat on college entrance exams and bribe coaches to get them into USC as athletes in sports they never played.