Op-Ed: Operation Varsity Blues

The game that is the college admissions process is already complicated, difficult, stressful and played on an uneven field. As a current senior who has recently received her fair share of college rejections, I also wished that the universe would have allowed me to be born into a family who could pay a way into my top schools, but that is clearly not the case for a lot of us. 

Despite the fact that there are great colleges and universities all across the United States, there seems to be an increasing pressure on high school students to impress a specific group of schools, a certain group that is considered “elite.” This documentary proposes what many professionals have been asking for a while: what makes these schools elite and why were parents willing to cheat their children in? 

Netflix released the documentary “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” which looked into the college admission scandal ring that was made public in March 2019. The documentary uses real government-recorded phone call conversations as a script for actors to reenact how the entire operation was conducted by Rick Singer, a college admissions “coach” who started out helping kids get into colleges in his small town.

 As Singer began to social climb, he began to offer high-class and wealthy parents a way to get guaranteed entrance into some of America’s big name universities through what he called a “side door.” His networking was found to have involved around 53 individuals, working on both sides, to have students be recruited into schools as athletes in exchange for a significant-sized donation from parents.

While this specific ring was caught, and those involved were held accountable with only a few months of prison time, there are other rings across the country accomplishing the same thing. Operation Varsity Blue additionally looked at how the schools involved, such as Stanford, Yale and the University of California, seemed to benefit from the scandal rather than suffer. 

This documentary makes you truly look at the monster that the U.S. college admissions process has evolved into and how its toxic competitiveness is leaking into average high school students. While it is a truly interesting watch, I do recommend not to worry about your own college admissions journey if that is your near future. It all works out in the end for those who truly work hard and find a way to receive an affordable education. 

Sandra Rivadeneira

Sandra Rivadeneira is a senior returning to The Blue and Gold as Editor-in-Chief of Print. Rivadeneira joined the class as a freshman as a way to get to know Malden High’s environment. She got the opportunity to become more involved with the Malden High community through this class, and got to know even more about the city that she grew up in, finding a passion in journalism along the way. Additionally, Rivadeneira is a softball player, has been an alto saxophone player for six years, and is a member of the Play Production class. Musical theater being a huge hobby of hers. She looks forward to seeing how her senior year rolls out under the new circumstances and getting to adapt the Blue and Gold classes so that it can continue to produce it’s unique content to the community. In her free time, Rivadeneira enjoys reading, listening to indie pop music, watching sitcoms and constantly redecorating her room.

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