College Admission Scandals Mock Effort from Qualified Students

With more people applying to the 5,300 universities in the U.S., fewer people are likely to be accepted. 66% of people who seek to further their education to colleges are accepted. However, some people who don’t have the grades and aren’t exactly what the colleges are looking for are also getting taken for the mere fact that their parents can bribe their way into admission. Operation Varsity Blues was a college admission scandal that involved bribery, money laundering, and document fabrication to unfairly get students admitted to elite colleges, a scheme led by William Rick Singer, a college-prep professional.

People who want to get into an elite college usually put in an excessive amount of work to get accepted into elite universities that only take 5-6% of applicants. Some of these students don’t put in much work and can still join the alumnae at these colleges because of bribery made to these colleges. Many of the elite 1% have the money to donate millions of dollars to the colleges so their child(ren) can have a secure acceptance. Still, these colleges won’t bat an eye at just a million dollars. Nowadays, if you cannot donate at least 10 million, you don’t have that secure spot. What about the elite who don’t want to spend this kind of money but still want to have this certainty that their child will be around the elite who can? This is where Rick Singer stepped in to lend a hand. He could falsify college acceptance exams, bribe coaches and administrators at elite universities to designate certain applicants as recruited athletes or as other favored candidates, thereby facilitating the applicant’s admission to those universities.

Laura Smith, a special agent with the FBI assigned to the Boston, Massachusetts field office, began the investigation into Operation Varsity Blues. She figured out the schemes of these parents along with Rick Singer and Mark Riddle. She gathered evidence from bank records, flight records, e-mails, telephone toll records, cell site data, and other materials obtained through grand jury subpoenas and search warrants.

In 2011, and continuing to present, the parents of high school students who were applying to college conspired to use bribery and other forms of fraud to facilitate their child’s admission to colleges and universities. They would bribe college entrance exam administrators to allow a third party to enable cheating on college entrance exams, in some cases by posing as the actual students, and in others, by providing students with answers during the exams or by correcting their answers after they have completed the exams. They would also bribe university athletic coaches and administrators to designate applicants as purported athletic recruits, regardless of their athletic abilities. In some cases, even though they did not play the spot, they were purportedly recruited to play, thereby facilitating their admission to universities in place of a more qualified applicant.

To get the grades the child needed for admission, parents involved in the scheme would have a third party take classes in place of the actual students, understanding that grades in those classes would be submitted as part of the student’s college application. Submitting a falsified application for admission to Universities in the District of Massachusetts and elsewhere that, among other things, included the fraudulently obtained exam scores and class grades, and often listed fake award and athletic activities, and disguising the nature and source of the bribe payments by funneling the money through the accounts of a purported charity, from which many of the bribes were then paid.

This scandal opened the eyes to many people showing how far ahead the elite 1% can get ahead with minimal work and a lot more money. It also showed how much more critical rank and money is for these universities than to actually have the students who applied and should be able to get in getting in with a fair shot.