The College Admissions Scandal as it Draws to a Close. Rick Singer Sentenced.


Paige Rassey, Staff Writer

On March 12, 2019, the scandal that shook the world was made public. The conspiracy of Operation Varsity Blues hatched by Rick Singer provided concrete evidence to anxious highschool students that the system of college admissions was deeply flawed, rooted in the industry’s greed and desire for lucrative profits. Now, in 2023, the mastermind behind the scam was finally sentenced.

But, what made this genius? Rick Singer, as described by many who knew him, was a loner. Starting out as a basketball coach who was laid off many jobs for aggressive behavior, Singer opted into the tutoring business in which he was introduced to the lucrative process of working in the field of college admissions. As he worked the gears of his mind began to turn…and a twisted, selfish plan began to form.

There were three major steps to a successful scam: 

  1. Talk up his own expertise to desperate parents hoping to live through their own child’s academic success.
  2. Strike a deal in which the parents would pay him a large sum of money to cheat on standardized testing.
  3. Bribe university coaches and administrators who had control over the admissions process

People will say anything on the phone when they don’t know the FBI is listening. Singer learned this as he worked with the FBI to reduce his punishment. After he was caught, Singer helped catch the others involved by talking on bugged phone calls in which the objective was to catch verbal admittance of these parents to their illegal actions. With the extra points for cooperation, Rick Singer was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison for his crimes in early 2023. The scam perpetrated the idealization of top college admittance and furthered the prestige of the colleges involved.


Watch the Netflix Documentary, “The Great College Admissions Scandal”, for a more in-depth look at the workings of Rick Singer’s operation and the toxic system of college admissions as we know it today. 


Image source: