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‘Operation Varsity Blues’ Sheds New Light on The College Admissions Scandal

As we have all heard by now, in 2020, many parents were arrested for bribing college officials and coaches to let their children in very prestigious colleges and universities. I had heard some things related to this topic on the news, but until watching this documentary I had no idea just how big of a scandal it was and how many people were really involved. A documentary came out on Netflix called Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal. This documentary takes you along the whole process of what was happening behind the scenes. 

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The documentary starts out by introducing the big players in this scandal. What I was unaware of was that Rick Singer, a college admissions tutor, was the mastermind behind the entire scandal. He owned a business that would help families and students get into their dream college, but what wasn't advertised was that it was being done by using a “side door” method. The method was not simply just paying money to colleges or donating buildings, it was in fact having students pose for certain sports to advertise them as walk-on athletes even though they will never be a part of that team during their four years there. There were over 50 families involved in this scandal and many coaches, as well as, college officials. It was much more advanced than anyone ever thought possible. 

Throughout the documentary, my eyes were attached to my screen. It was so attention-grabbing, and I feel like I was drawn to it because as a college student, I know how much of a struggle it is to apply and get into your dream college. To see people paying and faking their way through the process was sort of frustrating. Seeing parents pay for outsiders to take their children's ACT or SAT for them was so disappointing and yet surprising to see the effort they had to go through to make that happen. And something even more frustrating was that most of the children either didn't know what their parents were doing, or if they did they admit, they said that they want to go to college for the experience and not for the academics. Most students who honestly apply to schools like USC spend their whole high school careers working incredibly hard to get into their dream schools. They want to be there to further their education and to get good jobs after college. Whereas the kids that were getting in by paying their way through, just wanted to be there to party and say they go there. 

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Overall, this was probably one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. I think that the producers did an amazing job to create something that is informative as well as shows what really happens behind the scenes. It was engaging to watch the story all play out and be able to listen to actual phone conversations with Rick Singer and his clients. If you have any interest in this scandal or are a college student it is a must watch!

Caroline is senior at Siena College. She is an Accounting major with an Information Systems minor. She enjoys hanging out with friends, traveling, going to the beach or lake. She also enjoys finding the best local restaurants in Boston and exploring the city.
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