As someone who is currently a junior in high school and is also terrified of applying to college, the recent college admissions scandal that has surfaced on the news has opened my eyes.
The main culprits of the scandal include “Desperate Housewives” Actress Felicity Huffman and “Full House” Star Lori Loughlin. Although Huffman is one of the frontmen of the scandal, Loughlin’s efforts to get her children makeup and fashion blogger Olivia Jade Giannulli and aspiring actress Isabella Rose Giannulli into college have swept the news.
It has been confirmed that Loughlin and, her husband, Mossimo Giannulli have paid $500,000 in bribes to help their daughters get into the University of Southern California (USC). William Rick Singer, the “college counselor” for Jade and Rose, is the ring leader for the whole scandal.
Singer took full responsibility on Tuesday for planning the scandal, as he told U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel, “I am absolutely responsible for it. I put everything in place. I put all the people in place and made the payments directly.” Singer helped many wealthy celebrities, including Huffman and Loughlin, admit their children into prestigious colleges through starting up his company “The Key” which allowed students to get better ACT and SAT scores, helping them cheat, and bribing college coaches and athletic officials.
In the case of Jade and Rose, their father Giannulli sent action shots of them to Singer to photoshop onto the heads of rowers on the crew team in their high school. Through this, Jade and Rose were able to receive athletic scholarships and admissions into USC. This is the worst part of the scandal, in my opinion.
Not the fact that Loughlin and Giannulli paid an absurd amount of money in bribe, but rather that a spot at USC was stolen from another applicant who worked hard in crew and academics. The college admissions process is already brutal, but I cannot imagine stealing a spot from someone who worked for a spot at that university.
Sources, such as TMZ, claim that Jade and Rose have decided to drop out from USC in “fear of being viciously bullied” upon their return after the scandal. The same sources have reported that Jade has been “a mess, despondent and feeling like it’s the end of the world.” I can’t tell if Jade’s emotions are sprouting from her partnerships, including Sephora, Tresemme and Amazon, cutting ties with her, her parents going to jail or because of guilt.
Olivia Jade and her sister wanted to attend Arizona State University (ASU) rather than USC, but Giannulli wanted them to get “into a school other than ASU,” according to the court paper.
In response, ASU has said that "Some universities have decided the most important thing they can do is turn away deserving, qualified applicants just so they can seem more exclusive. That leads to perverse incentives and perverse actions, as we are witnessing unfold right now.” The university has also stated their belief that limited access to college is a “recipe for disaster for our country" and says that future applicants can apply without worrying about “future shenanigans.”
ASU’s response to Giannulli’s comment in the court paper is, oddly, some of the best news I have heard this week. As a student that cares a lot about academics, I have no interest in determining the college I want to attend based on prestige or acceptance rate. And since the scandal, my doubts in the college board has increased, but ASU’s statement reassures me that there is some hope out there for all applicants regardless of class, religion, race, and gender.