Dear Olivia Jade: My take on the college admissions scandal

If you haven’t read about the college admissions scandal by now, you’ll need to tell me which rock you’re under so I can hide there for future reference – it’s a massive story, and understandably so; in what Forbes claims to be “the largest prosecuted college admissions scandal in U.S. history“, 50 people were charged in relation to paying between $200,000 and $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into college. With some of the most famous names being Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, the rich parents of Hollywood are getting a massive backlash from the news.

 

The freedom and the means to go to university are a massive privilege. As someone with immigrant parents who moved to the U.K. to give their children the life they never had, I know how lucky I am to be able to get a degree. It’s not something I will ever take for granted. Learning about Lori Loughlin’s daughter, Olivia Jade, was probably the most upsetting case for me, because I remember watching some of her videos (back when she was somewhat relatable), and she actually seems like a sweet girl. But she would sit in her bedroom and talk about how she didn’t even want to go to school, and that she was just there for the parties, game days and social aspects of college.

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Lori Loughlin and her two daughters, Isabella and Olivia Jade (source: thisisinsider.com)

I must say that while Operation Varsity Blues exposed some really upsetting stuff, I can’t say I’m totally surprised. As someone who is all too familiar with the stresses of getting into your chosen course or university, the fact that privileged families seem to be able to make these moral sacrifices to waltz their kids into college isn’t actually that shocking.

It only really got ridiculous when I read about the fact that they literally photoshopped Olivia’s face onto a rowing team photo so that she could get into college as an athlete. To think about the fact that she has taken away the place of someone who probably trained their entire life to get into university on an athletics scholarship makes me sick. Rowing is a bloody difficult sport, let alone to university level.

I find it hard to believe that the children of those being charged weren’t aware of what was going on. For people like Olivia Jade, I hope for her sake that she had no idea, but it looks like she knew. If she literally posed for a photo on an ergometer, having never rowed competitively before, she must have known something. That said, she was obviously under a lot of pressure from her parents to go to college, despite her really not wanting to. It was something that she so clearly expressed, and to be honest, she was in the very lucky position of having a big enough platform to be financially secure without a degree. TRESemmé and Sephora have dropped Olivia Jade from her partnerships, which is a real shame for her as she could’ve been successful had she not been pushed into college the way that she was.

But let’s be honest, how many of these people have the ability to make at least part of this problem go away using their money? There are black and brown parents serving jail time for using a relative’s address to get their kids into a better public school. Using rich privilege to get into college is something that should have never been allowed to happen, and I am so glad that it has been uncovered, despite it probably being just the tip of the iceberg. We’re quite lucky in the U.K. that we have the student loan system, reducing the gap between white, rich, upper-income families and minorities getting into university, but my understanding is that this gap is so much bigger in the States.

With the news that Olivia didn’t even seem to lift a finger to get into USC, I do find it genuinely upsetting because there are so many parents who would give anything to be able to support their children through university. Applying is stressful, difficult and frankly half the time it’s not worth the panic, but we all go through it and I think the general feeling at the moment is one of betrayal. I’ve read that Loughlin’s friends are distancing themselves from the family, and honestly I understand it. I wouldn’t want to be associated with someone who could abuse the system so easily and in such a care-free manner. I want to raise my future children to have an understanding of what a privilege it is to have an education and to go to university, and to work hard for what they want to achieve. I can’t say I blame Olivia much in this situation at all, because it’s all down to bad parenting at the end of it. Her parents forcing her into college the way they did is an indicator that they didn’t think she was enough without it, and to make it worse, they made her think that she can solve all her problems with money.

I hope that this is a step forward in bringing justice to those that have been massively screwed over by the whole scandal, especially the people who really deserved those places at their dream universities. It’s something that I wish had never happened, but I’m so glad the truth is coming out and that the story is getting further uncovered each day. With both of Lori’s daughters apparently not leaving their house at the moment, I hope for their sake that this eventually blows over and that they learn from it, but it really is a shame that any of it happened in the first place.

 

 

I hope that 2nd semester hasn’t killed any of you that are currently suffering through it, and I’ll definitely have a lot to talk about once I’ve got some of these deadlines out of the way! Have a wonderful week and I’ll see you in the next one.

Thivya x

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