It was a little over two weeks ago that news of the college admissions cheating scandal was unfolding. It wouldn’t take long before names were released and the public was informed about Operation: Varsity Blues. The FBI unsealed documents on the college admissions scam that lead to the arrest of 50 people across the country – all wealthy and privileged. Big names such as Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives and Lori Loughlin of Full House are among those accused. With that, we were given a view into the world of the wealthy, the privileged, and those willing to commit corruption in the name of getting their children into good schools.
While Olivia Jade, Lori Loughlin’s daughter and YouTube star, ended up getting the worst end of the deal, she wasn’t the only one. It’s probable that she became the face of the scandal simply because of her outspoken personality and the public personality she had become online. Taking everything into account, it’s easy to be angry at Olivia, her parents, and those people like them who are getting away with this. The thing is, it’s not new.
The upper class, for ages, has been rigging the system in their favor, all while shutting the door behind them in order to keep the upper class to themselves and their mediocre and very average offspring. This scandal, however, has finally got people talking about it. It’s terrifying. It makes the general public realize that no matter how hard we try, a lot of us aren’t going to make it anywhere if the upper class has anything to say about it. Very recently, writer Jaimie Leigh wrote an exposé on Facebook, detailing her experience working for wealthy clients, “writing papers and doctoring resumes to ensure that lazy, entitled rich kids get the right ‘personal brand’ for Ivy League universities”.
Among the Asshole McGloatyFace’s of the world are names of people that we all know, and we know well. Among them, sons of former Vice President Al Gore, Jared Kushner and John F. Kennedy, who got into Harvard on the basis of wanting to be a “Harvard Man” like his father (Barhkhorn). In The Price of Admission, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Daniel Golden argues that the America in which anybody can succeed with hard work and determination is disappearing. Instead, Golden touches on the aristocracy that America is becoming, which allows the upper class to give their kids an even bigger head start. In his book, he exposed Harvard’s “Z-List”, which is a list of students who are under qualified for the Ivy League but are well-connected through either family or politics.
The elite and upper class buying their way into colleges is as old as time. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting your children to succeed and giving them the tools to do so, it’s ridiculous that the privilege that these kids are already getting isn’t enough. These students are typically already connected to private tutors, are enrolled in prestigious high schools with attractive small classrooms, and have access to the best technology and education in the world. Somehow, that’s not enough.
I, along with millions of others, are disappointed, but not surprised. To buy your way into a college, which you are under-qualified for, is absolutely ridiculous. A lot of the time, these colleges have limited spots that they are able to offer to students and qualified students are turned down in order to create a spot for a student who doesn’t deserve to be there.
This scandal, however, has brought forth such an important conversation right before the presidential campaigns take off. It’s important that we have this conversation and that we start working together to put this to a stop.