Learning from Operation Varsity Blues

Sam Schwartz, Reporter

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Like many of the nations fairly affluent communities, CESJDS families tend to obsess over which college their child attend. This leads to unnecessary pressure and stress, and unfortunately the potential for unethical behavior.

The competition for college acceptance has consumed many of the nation’s wealthier areas, and our school is undoubtedly a victim.

Yet following a national scandal in which wealthy celebrities bought their children into college, we need to reevaluate how we look at the competition of college admissions.

To this point, high school experience has been defined by how I plan to turn my grades into an appealing college application. While gaining the early skills necessary to pursue higher education is obviously the point of high school education, it has begun to feel as if the external pressure to be accepted to a select university has begun to outweigh my internal goals.

After reading about the recent college admission scandal, Operation Varsity Blues, there appears to be agreement among the media that the students who had been unethically admitted into their universities shared similar wealthy backgrounds.

While prestigious schools try to sell themselves as one’s greatest opportunity to achieve financial success and establish valuable connections for future careers, the families willing to cheat their childrens’ way into college appear to have those resources already. Those with the ability to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to correct standardized test scores or persuade athletic programs to recruit fake athletes clearly have the financial stability, and likely social status, to provide their children with the lives that their universities intend to provide.

Therein-lies the frightening truth; the struggle for social acceptance has clouded our ability to pursue the colleges that are truly the best fit for our individual needs and interests.

Changing the perspective of an entire community is not something I intend to do. There are individuals in our community who will continue to push the narrative that a top-ranked college provides a level of opportunity and social status that justifies the hyper-competitive environment.

What we must do as individuals is acknowledge that simply by attending CESJDS we are given the opportunity to truly explore our individual interests. The college admissions process should be based on the fit between a student and a university, not based on one’s economic status. By changing your individual perception of college admissions, you grant yourself the ability to see beyond the statistics and societal pressures and find the best college for you.