College Scandal

Sydney Lee, Staff Member

As a Senior at Christ Church, a constant stresser in my life is college. We all go to a prep school that prepares us for college. The college process is hard, but also rewarding and overall worth it. It is fair to say that times have changed from when our parents were in school vs. us in school right now. For starters, academics have gotten harder, SAT scores can now be a perfect score, and college is much more stressed. College is such an important stepping stone that the rich and famous are willing to put their morals to the side to get their children into college. Recently, there has been a cheating scandal across america. This college cheating scandal is the biggest one in history that produced the most money and got the most kids into college. This scandal is also referred to as the “Operation Varsity Blues”. This article will go into depth with anything one would need to know about the biggest cheating scandal in the country and why this cheating has disappointed millions, and why college is not worth going to if you have to get into the college the wrong way.

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The cheating scandal involved over 50 people. Including famous celebrities, such as Lori Loughlin. You may recognize Lori from an older show called Full House and was just on Fuller House. Her daughter is a youtube sensation, Olivia Jade and she has another daughter Bella. Her husband is a famous fashion designer that has created brands you might recognize, such as Mossimo. In Lori’s case she bribed a guy in the testing agency to change Oliva and Bella’s SAT score significantly higher and one of the most shocking thing thing is that the parents photoshopped photos! The agency they went to photoshopped Oliva in a rowing team and have many photoshopped photos of her on a team she was never a part of. Through these changes in the two daughter’s college resume, the parents managed to get Olivia and Bella into UCLA a prestigious school out in LA by spending 50,000 dollars for both daughters. Since this scandal went public, Olivia Jade has lost a high number of followers on Youtube and has gained a lot of haters. Olivia makes her money off of how well her youtube channel does and how many followers she has. If she loses followers then she will also lose sponsorships with companies that give her money. Companies give Olivia free makeup, clothes etc. And in return she supports the products and shows her viewers how she adores and uses the product. Some example of sponsorships Olivia has just recently lost due to recent allegations, is Amazon, Princess Polly, and of course Sephora. She was a Sephora Ambassador and even had a palette that did very successful in the stores. Since the scandal, she is no longer an ambassador with her friends and her palette has been taken out of stores. So many people in the world were disappointed that this 18 year old who makes her money by inspiring people would do something this terrible that does not set a good example for her young audience. People were so disappointed that it seems that everything Olivia has worked on the past few years, how she makes her own money, and her happiness through sephora and her youtube channel is destroyed. Everything was destroyed for one college and one decision.

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There have been some comments and videos discussing Olivia’s truthful high school experience. Many of her old friends at her all girls high school in LA made comments of how they always noticed how Olivia was never in school. She was either at home filming videos or somewhere traveling with other successful youtubers. The school she went to was an intense private school with a hard work load and courses. It made no sense how she had time to film, be on the “rowing team”, apply to college, study for the SAT’s and perform well on it, and graduate her high school with a high enough GPA to get into her “dream” college. It confused everyone how she was never at school, but somehow managed to well in it. Both Bella and Olivia have decided to not return to UCLA because of the hate they would receive. No one knows what the future holds for Olivia and her family, but all we do know is that this step forward through cheating their way into college actually took them a huge step back because they did not go about it in the right way. 

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The guy who managed to get all of the rich and famous kids into college was William “Rick” Singer, who owned a college prep program known as Key. According to Rick, he made over 25 million dollars by getting parent’s kids into college by doing a variety of things, such as take the SAT for the kids, change the kid’s incorrect answers to the correct ones, photoshop the kids in sports and other activities to help make the college resume seem more impressive.

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Some prestigious colleges that Rick helped get the parent’s kids into consist of UCLA, Georgetown, Yale, Wake Forest, Stanford etc.

The aftermath of this scandal leaking is the arrest of many parents who contributed in this scandal and the arrest of Rick himself. For example, Lori and her husband were both arrested one evening and their bail was 1 million dollars, but their careers were completely over, therefore they lost more money then they can imagine.

The reason why this college scandal hurt so many teenagers across America and why it was taken so seriously is because by cheating your kids into college you are teaching them and others around them that it is okay to not work hard and earn something if you have money and fame. Using money and fame instead of working hard is a terrible example and is part of the reason of why privileged kids have bad reputations. Not only is this not fair and a bad message to kids, but it also hurts the kids who actually worked their way into college the right way. Many college positions in various colleges were gone because they were occupied by kids who lied their way into their position, leaving someone who actually deserve the opportunity at the college left with a rejection letter.

Not everyone has an enormous sum of money that can allow them to get to places in life without working hard. A majority has to work hard to get what they deserve and can not rely on money to get them to a high position, nor would they want too. The scariest part about the whole scandal is the fact that college is so important to these families that they are willing to commit something immoral to get to that position. College should never be so important that a person does unspeakable things and hurts innocent people along the way. College is not a life or death situation. There are ways to get to where you want to be with the real work you have done.

Overall, this college scandal has hit people in a sensitive area because it is the perfect example of how privileged people think they can go the easy route in America. People thinking they can buy their way into things happens everyday, but this “Operation Varsity Blues” is a public example that gives us reason to address this everyday struggle. College is supposed to inspire kids to become men and women and work hard to prepare them for jobs and their future endeavors. Everyone wants to start off college the right way, therefore by getting into the college the honorable way for the applicant’s future and the future of other hard working kids who want the same position.