ROCHESTER, Minn. -
Paul Thiboutot works in admissions at Carleton College and says the college admissions scandal is a reflection of cutthroat competition among the wealthy and powerful.
"It's kind of a shame to see so much value in that particular elitism and then use resources in that way, in unethical ways," Thiboutot said.
Thiboutot says it should be more than just a trophy on a mantel.
"You can also get a college education at a whole variety of institutions and you don't necessarily need to just win a prize," Thiboutot said.
But Desiree Ahrens is a mother of three children and sees first hand how the pressure cooker starts at an early age.
"There's lots of pressure on kids that I never had even at a young level at Kindergarten to do so many hours of this and that," Ahrens said.
She says parents are far more involved now than they were in the eighties.
"There's a lot of tracking we have to do as parents," Ahrens said. "I'm very involved and I know a lot of what's going on in their classroom whereas I don't think my mom ever knew what we were studying in class at this age."
Nashauna Johnson-Lenoir has five girls and understands the measures they took -- since society places a high value on diplomas from certain schools.
"When you are applying for employment, they won't consider you unless you have a certain school on your resume," Johnson-Lenoir said.
Johnson-Lenoir isn't eager to judge the parents accused in the scandal.
"A lot of parents will go to certain extents for their children," Johnson-Lenoir said.
But Thibouto insists -- it's about what you do with your life, not the name on a diploma.
"It's a misplacing of value on the wrong thing," Thibouto said.
50 people have been charged in 6 different states.