VALLEY Reviews: “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal”

Image by Columbia Photos in (USA TODAY)

The mystery, drama, frustration and utter fascination that the 2018 College Admissions Scandal produced in people all over the world is spot-on displayed in Netflix’s new documentary. We watched this “operation” unfold from the sidelines, learning it involved some of the wealthiest business people and celebrities in the country. Within the documentary, we watch firsthand how the mastermind behind this operation profited millions of dollars off of cheating high school seniors into the schools of their (parents) dreams. 

Rick Singer’s “The Side Door” operation was the means by which he was able to get tons of children of multi-billionaire families into some of the nation’s most pristine universities. Singer advertised himself to the public as a college admissions coach; someone that works with high school seniors in fields of test preparation, college application and building an application profile that sets them apart from the rest of the pool. 

Singer was far from that of a compassionate guiding hand to these impressionable kids searching for the school that suits them best. He understood college admissions as a three-door building, thus giving you three options for admission; the front door, being the most genuine and utterly real approach. A student who does well in school scores high on standardized tests and has extracurriculars that make them an outstanding candidate. The back door to admissions would be taken if a student lacked the genuine characteristics that these selective schools searched for, but came from wealth. This door is coupled with a large donation to the university, which was never even a guarantee of admission. It was expensive and risky. 

Stock image authorities reported Singer used to photoshop his clients face onto from https://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny-news-college-photoshop-20190313-story.html

Singer’s infamous side door approach consisted of creating fake sports profiles for his clients, transforming their identities into athletic recruits. Parents benefitted from this approach because through Singer, they made donations to the sports teams that their child was being “recruited to.” These donation amounts were drastically lower than any monetary donation a family would make to a university to ensure their child’s admission. Coaches of these sports teams directly profited off of these deals by taking bribes that Singer would essentially disguise as donations. 

The documentary is captivating and compelling. Audiences recognize an undeniable sense of anger and envy that this documentary evokes within them. The film includes interviews of Singer’s clients, coaches that were affiliated with the admissions scandal and best of all, reenactments of wire tapes accumulated by the FBI through their ongoing investigation of Rick Singer.

Photo from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/look-inside-case-take-down-massive-college-cheating-scheme-n1261176

The highlights of Olivia Jade, Lory Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, being that they are big Hollywood names, walked viewers through the entirety of their dirty acceptance into USC, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and tons of other prestigious universities. 

Here at VALLEY, we’ve always got you covered with recommendations of books, TV series, movies and music. The next time you find yourself with some free time, this Netflix documentary is certainly a must-watch.

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