‘Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admission Scandal’ Surprises

Netflix documentary raises questions about future of college admission process

Emily Rotenberg, Student life & Food Features Editor

As the year slowly is coming to an end and I start to think more and more about senior year, college is definitely a big topic of conversation among my friends and family. Because of this, when the new documentary, Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal, was released on Netflix it really caught my attention. 

The documentary focuses on Rick Singer, an independent college counselor who used the “side door” method to guarantee students admission to their dream university. This method could include, bribery, falsely identifying students as athletes for sports they didn’t participate in, or lying about standardized test scores. Additionally, the film uses a variety of interviews, witnesses, and reenactments from Singer’s phone calls recorded by the FBI. In fact, every conversation in the documentary was real and used from the FBI transcripts. 

I really enjoyed the film but I was definitely shocked. I know for many students it can be extremely difficult to get a dream test score or recognized by coaches from universities so it’s a little frustrating seeing the way things played out for so long. Furthermore, a majority of Singer’s clients knew they were in the wrong but continued to break the rules. Most of the actual students applying to the universities had no clue what their parents were doing behind the scenes and saw Singer as just a normal college counselor. 

This documentary is really great, especially for high school students as we all have college in the back of our minds. It really allowed me to gain a different perspective on the admissions process and understand how exactly Singer was able to get away with this for so long. Now with many schools being test-optional and the increase in applicants this past year, it makes me wonder what the future will be for the college admission process.