College admissions: how smart, or how rich?

Maddie Morelli, Sports Editor

Last year a groundbreaking college admissions scandal was uncovered by the FBI. The investigation was nicknamed “Operation Varsity Blues.” The scandal consisted of over 50 wealthy parents being charged. In that list included A-list actors, doctors, lawyers, and more. The crime? They paid their kids way into securing a spot at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities. 

The scandal consisted of parents paying up to millions of dollars to convert their kids into athletic recruits to obtain a spot in the freshman class. Some parents also went to extreme lengths to create fraudulent SAT scores for their children. The SAT scores rang in at a price of around $50k. Operation Varsity Blues ended up being the largest college admissions scandal the FBI had ever investigated. 

Recently, a new special released on Netflix, “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal.” The special does a fantastic job at covering all angles of the scandal. It features actors, but real phone conversations obtained through files the FBI released. It also features experts on college admissions, explaining each part of the process, and what exactly went on, and still goes on, behind the scenes. 

With this special being released, the discussion on college admissions is once again ablaze. If all of this bribery that happened was illegal, what side doors still exist that are immoral, but legal? An example of this is Jared Kushner, who is currently married to Ivanka Trump. Kushner attended Harvard, the most prestigious institution in the country, for his undergraduate degree. However, he seemed to be an average student. But, his dad pledged $2.5 million to Harvard before his son was accepted. The ultimate issue with cutthroat college admissions currently is that no matter how hard you work, for the right price, anyone can be admitted anywhere. 

Alongside the “side” or “back” doors that many upper-class families are able to take, college admissions is simply an unfair draw from the very beginning. When considering all that it takes to not only be accepted but simply apply to college, money is involved in nearly every aspect. Money makes the college admissions world go round. Money also makes for better candidates when applying to colleges, especially at prestigious institutions. Students who come from affluent families have access to the funds that can help them get top of the line tutors for AP testing, the ACTs, and SATs. This helps them receive better scores, ultimately allowing them to stand out more as an applicant. Other than simply testing, many affluent students have access to better education as a whole, attending private schools or simply top-of-the-line public schools. Along with education, athletics also favor upper-class families. As athletes from wealthy families have access to personal trainers and expensive travel leagues. It seems that every step of the college admissions process skews to the wealthy. 

Last year, Operation Varsity Blues has shed light on how unfair the college admissions process can really be. The Netflix special reopened the conversation and is now making people really question the college admissions process in America. Will the admissions process ever truly be equal? There is one truth in all of this: with the right connections, and for the right price, anything is possible.