Seniors’ Opinions on the Olivia Jade Scandal


Student reads her letter of denial from a college she applied to.

With this College admissions scandal including over 50 families coinciding so close to so many of us seniors receiving and making college decisions, I wanted to find out how my fellow wolves felt about the controversy. I sat down with volleyball player Mallori Simms and Co’19 salutatorian Jaelyn Taylor to explore their views on the subject.

How does this scandal make you feel about the college admissions process?

J: It makes me feel as though colleges are focusing more on improving their image instead of the students. I think they’re operating more like a business than an educational institution.

M: It makes me feel like the process is rigged for the wealthy and its unfair for those who work hard to get into these schools to just be put on waiting lists and have their spots taken by people who can outbid them financially.

What struggles did you have in your personal admissions process?

J: Obtaining high scores on standardized tests was a struggle for me. Many schools require very high marks to even be considered for admittance.  I feel people like Olivia Jade have a better advantage because they have more resources at their disposal, but they don’t utilize them.

M: Determining which schools would be realistic options for me based on my skillset and the school’s affordability. There were a lot of schools I that appealed to me but were either too expensive or out of reach for the scores I got.

Student’s college denial letter

Do you feel as like this event is potentially threatening to your future and that of students like yourself?

J: After this scandal more, low-income students will be discouraged to even apply to “big name” or “competitive schools” because they will feel as though they won’t even stand a chance over other students in better economic positions.

What do you feel should be done to improve the integrity of this process?

J: Improving integrity starts w eliminating parts of the application that could present any biases toward those from wealthier backgrounds. I think they should remove all parts of the application involving students’ financial information.

M: Since schools rely on a board of members to filter through the application pool. I think making sure the admissions board does a better job of avoiding corruption by ensuring that each applicant actually deserves their spot and is not being motivated by financials or gaining press from a particular student is the first step in my opinion.

Are you going to college for the education or the experience?

J: Both, I want to gain this knowledge for my future, but I also want that genuine college experience.

M: I’m going for the education so that after I earn my degree I can be comfortable enough to experience life to the fullest.

Do you feel like college is more important to those who have to rely on scholarships? Do you think it’s fair to require so much or students w low incomes opposed to students who can afford tuition through parents/trust funds?

M: I think scholarship kids tend to care more because they know they need to keep their grades up to remain in good standing and continue to receive that money.

J: Students on scholarships don’t have the safety net of a trust fund to fall back on if they lose that scholarship so I think they have more urge to do well. The high requirements to me are not fair because a student not having money to pay tuition is out of their control and they now have to work twice as hard as those who don’t rely on scholarships.

As a student-athlete how does it make you feel to know that Olivia Jade was admitted to USC by photoshopping herself as a member of a rowing team and another at UTA paid off the tennis coach to say that she was recruited to the team without ever actually playing?

M:  Extremely unfair to real athletes because we sacrifice so much to be good at our sport and balance school. It just goes to show how people w money think that they are above those who don’t. Hard work and dedication goes into being a student-athlete and paying your way doesn’t in any way compare to the things we go through to be who we are.

Do you think race/affirmative action plays into the reasons why students & parents are turning to bribery instead to merit to get into more competitive colleges?

M: It has nothing to do w that. the students who benefit from AA still work very hard for their spots, for other students who use their wealth to help them in studying is the same. But people who think that their wealth supersedes the need to earn their spot is not okay and it’s disrespectful to those students who do work so hard.

J: Affirmative Action didn’t cause this but I think it’s an excuse for people to say their child isn’t getting in because the odds are against their skin color and not because of their lack of merit. This type of bribery I feel has been going on for a long time behind closed doors, but this is the first time it’s been exposed on such a large scale and being discussed so widely.