Our 6th most-read article of 2019
(Originally published March 18, 2019)
When we learned that at least 50 people participated in a massive college admissions scam, deploying fraudulent means to get their children into our nation’s elite universities, we were appalled, disgusted, and outraged that not a single one of them was using these deviant tactics to get into the University of Pennsylvania.
It is just despicable that these privileged, wealthy families, who already enjoy every advantage, would be so deceitful and unethical in their efforts to secure a coveted spot at Yale, Stanford, or Georgetown, but not at Penn, which — friendly reminder! — is an Ivy League school. It’s extremely exclusive. Very difficult to get into. Definitely harder than Georgetown and sometimes harder than Stanford; it sort of depends on the year.
What’s especially appalling to us, as one of the finest academic institutions in the world, is how many of these students did not even care about their education. We’re looking at you, Olivia “I don’t know how much of school I’m gonna attend” Jade. Well, Olivia, maybe you’d feel differently if you learned about a certain someone named Benjamin Franklin, who founded the University of Pennsylvania in 1740 and also invented bifocals, the Warby Parkers of his day. You could say Ben was America’s first influencer. People already do, actually. It’s a thing. Tell your friends!
As long as you’re going to send a photo of your unathletic daughter on a rowing machine along with a check for $500,000 to a crew coach, why not send it to our crew coach? We have a river here. It’s pretty famous. Probably you’ve heard of it? The Schuylkill. Yes, that’s how it’s spelled. You say it like, skoo-kull. It’s a really lovely body of water and a great place for your daughter to pretend to be a coxswain while she just sits in a boat and vlogs. We would never have accepted the bribe, obviously, because that would go against our code of conduct. We hate crime; that’s why our law school is so good. But it would have been nice to be asked.
Paying $15,000 so the proctor will change your daughter’s SAT answers after she takes the test? Horrifying. But not as horrifying as going to such extreme lengths just to get your kid into USC when you could have sent those doctored transcripts to Philadelphia, PA. That’s where we’re located, just FYI. Like, you knew that already for sure but in case you’d forgotten: We’re in Philadelphia! What a town. It’s such an underrated city. Definitely better than wherever Wake Forest is. (Virginia? New Hampshire?) We’re biased but we can say, with total confidence, that Philly is better than New York. People say that all the time when they visit. They’re like, “Wow, this is so much cooler than I thought it was going to be! I guess my expectations were very low?”
A few days after the scandal broke, people started to talk about the Trumps and we were like FINALLY. But it turned out everybody was just giving Jared Kushner shit for paying $2.5 million to get into Harvard. HARVARD IS A GLORIFIED FINISHING SCHOOL. For fuck’s sake, what about all the money Trump promised he would donate to Penn so his daughter Ivanka and one of his dum-dum sons could go to Wharton?? Wharton is a Penn school, and sure, sometimes it bothers us that the Wharton brand is so strong while the Penn brand is still sort of confusing to a lot of people, but whatever. Tiffany went to the College of Arts and Sciences, by the way. At Penn.
Our only consolation in the face of this devastating news is that these criminals, whose schemes were a shameful violation of what is intended to be a fair, meritocratic process, will be brought to justice, and that none of them bothered to scam their way into Cornell.
Read an interview with Jessica M. Goldstein about writing this piece over on our Patreon page.