This entertaining exposé on how the other half gets in tells the shockingly true story of the Varsity Blues scandal, and all of the crazy parents, privilege, and con men involved.
Guilty Admissions weaves together the story of an unscrupulous college counselor named Rick Singer, and how he preyed on the desperation of some of the country's wealthiest families living in a world defined by fierce competition, who function under constant pressure to get into the "right" schools, starting with pre-school; non-stop fundraising and donation demands in the form of multi-million-dollar galas and private parties; and a community of deeply insecure parents who will do anything to get their kids into name-brand colleges in order to maintain their own A-list status.
Investigative reporter Nicole LaPorte lays bare the source of this insecurity—that in 2019, no special "hook" in the form of legacy status, athletic talent, or financial giving can guarantee a child's entrance into an elite school. The result is paranoia, deception, and true crimes at the peak of the American social pyramid.
With a glittering cast of Hollywood actors—including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin—hedge fund CEOs, sales executives, and media titans, Guilty Admissions is a soap-opera-slash-sneak-peek-behind-the-curtains at America's richest social circles; an examination of the cutthroat world of college admissions; and a parable of American society in 2019, when the country is run by a crass tycoon and all totems of status and achievement have become transactional and removed from traditions of ethical restraint.
A world where the rich get whatever they want, however they want it.
Journalist LaPorte (The Men Who Would Be Kings) delivers a riveting rundown of Operation Varsity Blues, the 2019 FBI investigation that led to the arrests of Hollywood celebrities Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, among dozens of other wealthy parents, in a scheme to manipulate the admissions process at some of America's most elite universities. LaPorte details the bercompetitive "social and educational milieu" of affluent L.A. neighborhoods, where parents pay up to $25,000 a year for preschools that feed into prestigious primary and secondary schools and, from there, into top colleges. To improve their children's chances, parents network, donate money, and hire independent college counselors like Rick Singer, the mastermind of the scheme uncovered by the FBI. A former basketball coach, Singer charged as much as $1.2 million to guarantee admission to Georgetown, Yale, and other name-brand schools. With test proctors, college coaches, and athletic directors on his payroll, Singer falsified exam results and created fake athletic profiles to get his clients accepted as student athletes. LaPorte provides plenty of juicy gossip about the rich and famous, but also probes systemic flaws and "inequities of class" in American higher education. Readers will be captivated by this entertaining look behind the headlines.