In March of this year, several people were charged with felonies related to actions in the admissions process for their children as a result of an investigation called Operation Varsity Blues. According to federal prosecutors, many wealthy parents paid large amounts of money to ensure their children would secure spots at such prestigious universities as Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, and USC. Some of these schemes included falsifying athletic records and hiring people to take SAT and ACT tests for their students to improve their scores so that they would be accepted into these competitive schools. Anne Fuller, the College and Career Advisor at Las Lomas High School, is not surprised by this scandal, as she believes this type of activity has existed for years. She explains that these parents “care about having their son or daughter attend a bumper sticker school that they deem is an image of what they think is success.” Essentially, parents are willing to commit crimes in order to ensure that their children get accepted into prestigious schools so that they will achieve the social status associated with attending these universities. The parents believe that this “image” not only is beneficial to their children but reflects on them as well.
The parents involved in the Operation Varsity Blues scandal believed that their students would not be accepted to a prestigious school without their illegal actions. Apparently, these individuals feel that they and their children’s status is determined by attending and graduating from universities that Ms. Fuller refers to as a “bumper sticker school.” These parents realized that their children would not be admitted these schools on their own merit so they relied on criminal schemes to ensure that their children would secure a spot at these schools. The parents that committed these crimes were relieved of their duties at their jobs and the students were kicked out of the schools that they got into.
Many believe that this scandal is discouraging to all of the students who work hard and conduct themselves honestly in the application process. A student who is admitted only because of their parents’ criminal actions takes a spot that could have gone to one who earned it through academic achievements. However, Ms. Fuller responds to this concern by explaining that “there is always going to be that element in the world in society.” In other words, there is an important life lesson to be learned from this scandal. There are many instances in the world in which people try to achieve success by cheating, bribing, or other nefarious means. But, those who follow the rules and work hard to achieve success should not allow themselves to become demoralized by the actions of those who choose the other path.