There's nothing new about the Varsity Blues.


Let’s face it. We already knew that in America money buys anything. The only thing that has changed is that we have certified evidence that if you don’t have money absolutely everything is harder, if not impossible. As my mom put it so distinctly: “This scandal is just yet another hit to the common man.” 


But is it? Sure, it’s bad. It’s embarrassing as a country and terrible for what it means for all those students who were inadvertently rejected from those schools because of this. But we could go about this in two ways. First, see once and for all that our education system is broken and work to reform it or second, see that there are other avenues to get into university, university is not for everyone, and going right out of high school might not be the smartest decision anyway. 


My first gut reaction was that I sure am glad I’m not in high school right now. I went to an incredibly competitive public school where every single point on a test, quiz, project or homework mattered. Students lived and breathed by their class rank number and how many tassels they could collect to put on their graduation gowns. My high school had a 99% college acceptance rate for graduating seniors. It was the thing you do, it was the thing you must do: get into college. Everyone was doing it. Just thinking of it makes my heart rate and stress level rise.

“I’m glad I’m not in high school right now, my (already lacking) motivation to even apply for university would have been devistatingly impacted”


My second reaction was that I could just imagine a mass exodus of high school guidance counselors being burnt out trying to motivate students to still try and apply for college. Knowing for sure that all of that hard work means even less (we all already had an inkling) would have been detrimental to my own motivation. Don’t get me wrong, I had college brochures all over my room and I was determined to get my extracurricular list looking stellar since my grades were average. 


What if we looked at this in the other light? Our education system has problems. This is just one more showcase of that. But the other blaring problem is the amount of students drowning in student debt, and then of course the other potential-students that can’t even afford to try and apply for universities. Now that we know for sure that it isn’t just grades, extra-curricular, and tuition money that gets you into these so-called inclusive institutions, this is the time to really hit hard on reforming. 


Not everyone has student loans and debt from college. But a lot do. According to StudentLoanHero.com:

“Among the Class of 2018, 69% of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,800, including both private and federal debt. Meanwhile, 14% of their parents took out an average of $35,600 in federal Parent PLUS loans. “

Not all universities in the world are free, but a lot are. Check out this post by StudentLoanHero.com that ranks the price of university and college by country.

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If I knew that there were other options before going to university- if I had been pressured even more to look at alternate routes my life would have been incredibly different. This is no fault but my own, but I was 18. I grew up in a sheltered world of going to football games every Friday night to play in the marching band and my biggest problem was that I couldn’t figure out just how much studying I could cram into the last hours of a Sunday night because I for sure wasn’t going to study any other time. 
College isn’t for everyone. I’m sure it wasn’t for half of the kids being shuffled into top-rated schools by their parents’ money if it had been then they would have genuinely studied or actually played the sport they claimed to. 


Maybe this can be a wake-up call, a push, or even a nod that there are other ways to get an education either instead of or before going to college or university. Taking a gap year to figure out what you actually want to study; trying to live on your own for a while; taking a few courses at a community college or for free online; might all create ways for students to make better, more realistic decisions about their college choices both academically and financially. 

While this news about the Varsity Blues lawsuit isn’t really that news-worthy (we already knew something like this HAD to be going on) it is a good opportunity to look at what the academic system is already doing to our younger generations stress and mental health, as well as what it has done to the elder generations ability to save money or plan for the future.

Just like most problems in the United States, it takes some celebrity scandal for us to really take a look at it. 

The education system in the United States needs reform. Of course thousands of students across the world dream of studying in our universities and colleges. But the admission process is outdated, the tuition is out of reach for a vast majority and the ability to get a job after graduation is harder with every day.

Let’s hold our congress members responsible for taking this fight on. Let’s make it a priority to reform this system so that in a country where education is supposed to be the one saving grace to get you ahead is in reaching distance for all, regardless of class, race, or background.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

-Haley/Daughter