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How has the Varsity Blues admissions scandal affected your approach to the application process?

HigherEd456HigherEd456 4 replies2 threads New Member
My name is Katie Reilly and I'm a reporter for TIME magazine, where I cover education issues. I received permission from College Confidential to post here. One year after the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal broke, I am interested in speaking with students and parents about how it has affected them, especially if you have a high school junior or senior going through the admissions process now.

Did the scandal change the way you view college admissions or the way you and your child approach the application process? Have you thought about the scandal at all while your child applies, or discussed it with your child or other parents?

I would love to hear your perspectives. If you or your child would be interested in speaking with me, please email me at [email protected]
Thank you!
39 replies
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Replies to: How has the Varsity Blues admissions scandal affected your approach to the application process?

  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33998 replies4656 threads Super Moderator
    Moderator's Note:
    The OP has been approved
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  • HigherEd456HigherEd456 4 replies2 threads New Member
    @RichInPitt If you email me, it might! I'd be happy to speak with you: [email protected]
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  • Johnny523Johnny523 271 replies11 threads Junior Member
    It didn't change anything for us either. Of course my son applied to pretty non-competitive schools.
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  • Techno13Techno13 336 replies13 threads Member
    I agree with chb088 that is mostly confirmed the unfortunate trust which we already suspected. However, it has really driven home for us the scam that is the College Board. Yes, all three of my high schoolers are and will take SAT as long as top schools require it but we will not pay for test prep and we have drawn the line at Subject Tests. I'm sure the College Board doesn't care what we do, but it feels like the right thing to just not buy into all that extra garbage. There are plenty of very highly rated schools that do not require nor recommend Subject Tests. I would love to see all school reject them outright. Another small change is my younger twins High School class of 2023 may take the ACT instead of the SAT. Not sure it's a better org, but maybe. Less powerful anyway. Too late for my D21-- she's already all in on the SAT.
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  • NhatrangNhatrang 1166 replies1 threads Senior Member
    Varsity blue has the extreme cases of student athletes who are not even athletes. But I am now extremely suspicious of the real athletes who are recruited to the top notched schools with questionable talent, over those who were truly talented. There is no oversight and extremely hard to prove (if there was some sort of bribery going on) because the students actually play.

    My son S23 plays very high level soccer but he doesn’t want to play in college. I’ll be watching very closely for his teammates where they will be recruited to (his club sends most kids to D1 and big 10 schools).

    So no, nothing changes in my household, but I would always wonder.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 1151 replies112 threads Senior Member
    Varsity Blue & Harvard Asians scandals affirmed advantages of these schools and how rich and powerful buy their way in. It also proved that admission game is rigged. We also learned that aid doesn’t come out if endowments, paying families are overcharged to make colleges look charitable.

    People who say it doesn’t matter which college you attend are deluding themselves same as the people who believe in fairness of holistic admissions. It’s just a veil to admit whom ever college wants to admit.

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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3771 replies51 threads Senior Member
    My son is a junior in high school now. This has definitely impacted us. In the past, we probably wouldn't have considered a college like USC for him. It's clear that the USC administration is scrutinizing the admissions office decisions. So my son is now considering applying to USC.

    Reason is simple: more likely to get a fair review of his application now.
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  • tkoparenttkoparent 374 replies7 threads Member
    It did not change anything for us, as were were already through the admissions process for our older child when the story broke last year and at the point of trying to decide on a school. It did confirm that we took the right approach by encouraging our son to be very transparent and present his true self to the schools he applied to, as a result of which he found a perfect match. I also felt lucky that our family lives overseas, as a result of which we have been shielded from a fair amount of college admissions madness. The whole Varsity Blues thing was very sad. The parents involved all sent a message to their kids that they didn't trust them to find their own paths - I keep wondering how that is going to affect these kids as they move on through their lives. These families obviously all became too caught up in the idea that there is only some finite group of schools that can be considered acceptable, and they must also have felt that it was OK to cheat because everyone else was. I went to graduate school at Yale and my husband taught at USC - they are both wonderful schools and I felt bad to see them embroiled in this mess, but there are a lot of wonderful schools in the US and the trick is to find the right one for the individual child, not to try and manipulate the student's profile to fit the college. I am also amazed that people thought they would get away with this scam over the long-term. It was stupid and clumsy and only a matter of time before it all came tumbling out.
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  • LittleStitiousLittleStitious 38 replies0 threads Junior Member

    I agree with Maya54–I was shocked half a million wasn’t enough to just buy your way into USC. I had suspected that the extra time and other special testing conditions offered by the SAT and ACT were being abused, even though many posters on CC adamantly insisted that accommodations were “hard to get” and that there was “no abuse.” The scandal clearly revealed this scam.
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  • LemonleeLemonlee 119 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Sadly, wasn’t too surprised by this at all - seems fairly obvious that things like this have always been going on. Just surprised that the justice department is going after the parents so aggressively while basically letting the mastermind behind this skate. Also can’t believe the College Board and ACT are getting a free pass - I think they should be held accountable for creating conditions that make it very easy for cheating to occur. This didn’t change anything for us with applications for our senior, but he is applying to much less competitive schools. Our D17 was a recruited athlete, but to a smaller T10 LAC so I guess I was a bit surprised how little oversight there was at the universities implicated - I can understand admitting an athlete who maybe isn’t the caliber expected for the level of the team, but a fake athlete who never even played the sport?
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  • Jon234Jon234 413 replies10 threads Member
    It didn’t surprise me that such a scheme existed. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were other Rick Singers out there doing something like this, though possibly to a lesser degree, still. If I was surprised by anything it would be the scale of his operation and the willingness of the parents involved to speak openly with him about it over the phone and to leave a paper trail by way of numerous emails (Gangster Capitalism, for anyone who hasn’t heard it, is a great Podcast covering the subject).

    The scandal didn’t change the way I encouraged my kids to go about their college applications at all. I’m not sure what they could do differently in light of the scandal.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82706 replies738 threads Senior Member
    I had suspected that the extra time and other special testing conditions offered by the SAT and ACT were being abused, even though many posters on CC adamantly insisted that accommodations were “hard to get” and that there was “no abuse.” The scandal clearly revealed this scam.

    Stuff like that makes it look like getting disability accommodation has more to do with how much money is applied than how legitimate the disability is.
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  • maya54maya54 2621 replies100 threads Senior Member
    “I agree with Maya54–I was shocked half a million wasn’t enough to just buy your way into USC.”

    I’m not surprised half a million isn’t enough for the average ( wealthy) person. I’m surprised that it wouldn't be enough for a celebrity. Schools like having the cache of a celeb. They know that a good percentage of their donor base like being able to say “oh yeah I saw ———- at the parent event” Their are a bunch of kids who get a kick out of a celebrity or celebrity parent in their midst. It makes them feel good about their school. So celebrity when combined with a nice ( though not multi million) donation seems like you’d be a shoo in ( but maybe not when the kid is a dumb as Laughlin’s daughter apparently was)
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  • gwnorthgwnorth 565 replies8 threads Member
    It made me glad that as our kids attend school in Canada they don't have to undergo the onerous process that is admissions to top schools in the U.S.
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