Reedy’s Take on Varsity Blues


On March 17th, 2021, Netflix released their newest documentary on one of the largest college admissions scandals: Operation Varsity Blue. The College Admissions Scandal follows Rick Singer on how he got a variety of students into college through ‘side doors’ as he calls them. Singer established a college preparation program and company where his scheme is based. He began as one of the first college preparation guides in California, the base of his program. Soon he began using different techniques to make resumes, applications, and qualifications appear more appealing to the intricacies of the college admissions process. In no time, he started using these side doors which his success stemmed from.

Singer associated donating money to a school and being an alumni as the backdoor but created his own side door where he took advantage of his connections to athletic departments around the country and made donations to them. Singer’s side doors can involve anything from cheating on the SAT through a privately proctored exam to pretending to be in a sport to walk-on as an athlete to the school under a coach’s roster. This would allow these students to partially avoid the in depth search of college admissions. Rick Singer’s cunning, lying, and confident nature resulted in him gaining millions of dollars per customer.

Reedy students who have heard of and seen the documentary have a lot to say. 

Junior Ashleigh Lobo has seen the documentary and says that Singer is “gross, strange, [a] loner, lazy, and cocky.” Singer, in her eyes, is a horrible person that is handing out this side door to more lazy people. 

Junior at Reedy, Pranva Jaganathan adds that Singer is “[a] criminal, brilliant, manipulative, hardworking, and [a] mastermind. Though many students think that Singer is at least partly at fault, there are more issues that appear more pressing to students. 

Some find that both the parents and the college admissions structure are at fault, aside from Singer. 

Junior Viveka Mallapaty says that “parents shouldn’t be bribing people and messing up the process when there are students who genuinely work hard to get accepted…the system is messed up… the spots should go to students who work hard.” 

Senior Karishma Shukla says that “it’s both the parents and the faculty that was involved since the parents are the ones that gave the money and the school accepted the money and accepted the children into their school.” After explaining it thoroughly she adds “that it’s unfortunate that people pay to have their kids in their dream school just because they [are] rich and take away the opportunity from a student that deserves it.” 

The documentary went into detail about how the kids were involved or unaware of the situation that went down – some students believe this while others understandably doubt it.

Jaganathan says that he “doesn’t believe the students are at fault here… many of them didn’t even know that they were involved in this scandal.” In some situations, students were completely unaware of the sum that their parents paid to Singer.

 On the contrary, Anna Oliver, a junior at Reedy, says that the students should be kicked out of the school even if they are doing well on classes and on-campus “because they didn’t fairly get accepted into college like everyone else.” But, it brings the questions that will be unanswered: if they didn’t get help from Singer or use any side doors, would they have still been accepted to the school they now attend?

Junior Rashmita Epuganti says that “it’s good that it’s out now, and shows how college admissions shouldnt mean everything to students.” 

The pressure of college and the college admissions system has had more light on the subject because of the scandal that arised. In some ways, the scandal has shown the pressure that is put onto students to enter this competitive process, but it also shows that it goes beyond the students.

Through this complicated situation that started out from SAT preparation and resume building, Rick Singer has brought major CEOs and celebrities down through his use of side doors. Furthermore, the FBI became the leading organization who uncovered the issues, all for kids to get into further education. If you haven’t seen the documentary out on Netflix, check it out to get a more indepth look at the scandal and how it can be perceived in this modern world of America.