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Students Were Advised to Claim to Be Minorities in College-Admissions Scandal

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/students-were-advised-to-claim-to-be-minorities-in-college-admissions-scandal-11558171800

BOSTON -- The man behind the scheme to help wealthy students get into elite colleges by cheating on tests and faking athletic credentials advised some families to falsely claim students were racial minorities, according to people familiar with the situation.

A son of Marjorie Klapper, a parent scheduled to plead guilty Friday for participating in the scheme, was incorrectly listed on his Common Application as being black and Hispanic, the people said. William "Rick" Singer, the college counselor who has agreed to plead guilty in the case and is awaiting sentencing, also arranged for a proctor to cheat on the ACT admissions test for the teen, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit filed in the case.

Ms. Klapper, who lives in Menlo Park, Calif., was one of many parents charged whose child was misrepresented as a minority, according to one of the people, who is familiar with the investigation.

Mr. Singer frequently gave families the option of misrepresenting race and would say that not doing so could put their child at a "competitive disadvantage," said one of the people, who is familiar with his business.

In looking to present a teen as a minority, Mr. Singer was tapping into a hot-button aspect of college admissions that has led to numerous lawsuits: decisions that take into account, or even give preference to, students of certain races or ethnicities.

Lawyers for Ms. Klapper didn't respond to requests for comment, and efforts to reach Ms. Klapper were unsuccessful. The lawyer for Mr. Singer declined to comment.