What it really takes to get into college, amid national scandal

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This combination of images shows college campuses, clockwise from top left, Georgetown University, Stanford University, Yale University, and University of California, Los Angeles. Prosecutors said dozens of parents paid bribes to alter their children’s test scores or get them into these and other colleges. The scandal underscored deep divisions on issues of class, privilege and race that are dominant themes in the political debate and part of daily discussions by regular Americans. (AP Photos)

From good SAT scores to good grades, to the student athletes, parents are facing the mounting pressure to get their kids into college.

The national college admissions scandal sparked a heated debate about what it really takes to get into an elite school. And now some of the universities involved face lawsuits.

MORE: See a full list of defendants facing charges

Parents here want to know: What can they do to give their children a fair fighting chance?

In the wake of the college admissions scandal sweeping across the country, students in southwest Florida chime in with their own thoughts on the controversy.

“I think that’s really frustrating that they get to be in these Ivy League’s when they don’t necessarily deserve it,” college student Sophie Baer said.

Cammie McKenize, the owner of learning in motion in Fort Myers, said she wasn’t surprised to hear about the admissions scandal.

“The entrance has become much more competitive,” McKenzie said. “More students applying to go to college, more students working hard to have the grades and get the scores.”

McKenzie, who has a master’s in education, said there is mounting college pressure not only on students but on parents.

McKenzie said a 4.0 GPA may not be enough. Students need to learn SAT and ACT because the tests are different. And she said students should not wait until senior year to think about the next four years.

“Just because your child is an A student in high school does not mean they are going to take an SAT or ACT test and do well,” McKenzie said. “You need to understand what these tests involve, and you need to know that one of them is probably going to feel better for you than the other.”

Overall, as a student who is weighing the decision of where to spend the next four years, the best piece of advice is to start early.

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