College admission scandal: PhotoShopping your way into college

Some parents had the head of their son or daughter PhotoShopped onto the body of a random college athlete in order to pretend he or she was a recruit.

Some hired an adult stand-in take their son or daughter’s SAT.

Others paid for exam results.

Business leaders, Hollywood stars and even an attorney had the money to scam the college admissions process, and were comfortable with lying and cheating on behalf of their children’s future.

The prize? Admission into elite schools like Yale University, University of Southern California, Stanford, UCLA, Georgetown, the University of San Diego, Wake Forest, the University of Texas, among others.

An investigation started in 2011, leading to the arrest of around thirty people. This number could increase, however.

how it worked

William Singer ran the scheme and in 2018, when the government tapped on his shoulder, he turned, becoming a witness for the government, and agreeing to wear a wire. Detailed communications were collected between Singer and the recipients of the scheme, including actress Lori Loughlin.

The actress allegedly paid Singer half a million dollars for their daughters to gain admission to USC as part of the crew team (neither girl had ever crewed before).

Loughlin’s daughter Olivia is a YouTube influencer who once recorded on her channel, “I want to go for the parties and game days. I don’t really care about school.”

Why is doubting a child’s ability and taking over his or her life so damaging? Geek out on self-determination theory and how it comments on the need for autonomy as young adults.

Is this simply more evidence of power-from-privilege? Or are there new lessons to be learned from the scandal? Check out the debate here.


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