Sidwell Friends Grad Wants Case Against School Heard by Supreme Court

Sidwell Friends, SFS, Admission from Sidwell Friends
Sidwell Friends has received some unwanted publicity of late (photo credit: APK).

There’s more drama, drama, drama coming out of Sidwell Friends, one of Washington, DC’s elite prep schools and the alma mater of the likes of Chelsea Clinton and Malia and Sasha Obama. Recently, we reported that college counselors at Sidwell Friends had quit after being on the receiving end of verbal assaults from the parents of a number of students. Well, now a former student who previously sued the school for allegedly discriminating against her in the college admissions process is now seeking to have her case heard before our nation’s highest court. As regular readers of our college admissions blog know, we’ve got a crystal ball at Ivy Coach. So what is the prediction of our crystal ball…will this student’s case be heard by the Supreme Court?

Sidwell Friends Grad Struck Out in College Admission Process, Blamed School

No way! RBG doesn’t have time for this nonsense — not when her life’s work fighting for equal rights for all is yet unfinished. And after reading the student’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, that’s the word that comes to mind: nonsense. Essentially, the former student didn’t earn admission to the colleges to which she applied as a high school senior. She reapplied the subsequent year and ultimately earned admission to the University of Pennsylvania. In the petition, her counsel argues that she, an African American child of Nigerian immigrants, essentially didn’t get into these schools because of racial discrimination (e.g., one of her math teachers is alleged to have regularly lowered her grades on account of her race) and other unfair practices at Sidwell Friends that our readers can read for themselves.

Whether Right or Wrong, Being a Complainer Hurts One’s Case for College Admission

After reading the petition, we can cite several reasons why we suspect this student didn’t earn admission to the highly selective colleges to which she applied. But we’ll just focus on the most significant and obvious reason: she made the mistake of presenting as unlikable to her high school. Whether her arguments of discrimination were valid or not, her teachers and school counselor submit letters of recommendation. She waives her right under FERPA to see what these teachers and counselor write. But one can bet that they weren’t glowing — not when the family went so far as to file a complaint against the school with D.C. Office of Human Rights when the student was still in high school.

Prep Schools Often Advocate for Certain Students and It’s Why Many Prep School Families Work With Us

We’re sure there is some merit to the claims of this family. Prep schools like Sidwell Friends notoriously do not advocate equally on behalf of all their students. As an example, behind closed doors, so many of them advocate to college admissions officers for the students whose parents and grandparents went to that very prep school over students who are the first in their families to attend the school. It’s a key reason why we happen to work with so many students from schools like Sidwell Friends, Andover, Exeter, Deerfield, Harvard-Westlake, etc. who happen to be the first in their families to attend these terrific schools. These students often need outside help to gain a competitive edge over their peers — some of whose names just happen to be followed by Roman Numerals.

But to complain about grades? To file complaints against the school? These are surefire ways to hurt a student’s case for admission to highly selective colleges. And why all these years later is this student continuing to battle against her high school? She has since graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. It’s time to move on.


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