Interview with former Princeton Admissions Committee Member, College Board Trustee on The Recent College Admissions Scandal

College consultant Andy Lockwood interviews Don Betterton, former director of Financial Aid and member of the Admissions Committee of Princeton University and former trustee of the College Board


In this wide-ranging interview, Andy asked Mr. Betterton about:


  • Was he surprised by the FBI investigation
  • How William “Rick” Singer could have pulled off such a complicated and far-reaching scheme
  • How easy is it to “buy” your way into Princeton, Harvard or any elite college
  • How do admissions officers treat donors, legacies, recruited athletes and other special “tags”
  • Did any parent ever approach him and offer to bribe him to admit their child to Princeton
  • His predictions for what will happen next in the world of college admissions and standardized testing
  • Advice for college-bound teens
  • More


About Don Betterton


Upon retiring from Princeton in 2006, Don decided to put his extensive knowledge to good use by starting a one-person business – Betterton College Planning – that guides families through the perplexing, yet crucially important college-going process. In his seven years as an independent counselor, Don has worked with over 250 students. Although his clients span a wide range of ability and college aspirations, he most often deals with above average students seeking to enroll at a competitive college.


Don served on Princeton’s admission committee for three decades and is familiar with college admissions from policy level discussions to the evaluation of student credentials. He has done hundreds of individual and group counseling sessions on how a student should prepare both inside and outside the classroom for admission to a competitive college.


As an independent college counselor, he developed the BCP Evaluator™ system, the preeminent method for organizing a college list that realistically projects a student’s admission chances. In his role as director of financial aid, Don was the architect of Princeton’s innovative “no loan” program and gained recognition as a national leader in his profession. His range of knowledge is extensive, including all aspects of both need-based and merit aid.


Don has been a trustee of the College Board and was honored by being named to the College Scholarship Service Hall of Fame. He chaired the policy committee of the Consortium of Higher Education and served on the policy committee of the Council of Ivy Group Presidents. He is a member of the NACAC, IECA, and OACAC college counseling associations. He serves on the advisory boards of the National Institute of Certified College Planners, SimpleTuition, ePrep, and the Princeton ROTC Association.


Don is also the author of three books including Alma Mater – Unusual stories and little known facts from America’s college campuses. In recognition of his service to Princeton, Don received the Alumni Council Service Award, the Bressler Award for contributions to Princeton athletics, and was named an honorary member of the classes of 1960 and 2005.


Don, a former regional soccer All-American, has had a long-time involvement with Princeton soccer. Up until 2006 he was an assistant coach of the men’s varsity squad, and before his work with the men’s team, he founded the women’s program in 1977. Don is a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth and has a M.A. from Rutgers. Prior to coming to Princeton, Don served on active duty as a U.S. Naval Aviator, eventually retiring with the rank of Captain. While on active duty, he was an assistant professor of Naval Science at Princeton.

More information about Andy Lockwood’s (LEGAL!) college advising service is located at and in books sold on, including How to Pay “Wholesale” for College.

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