As Olivia Jade and the students whose parents are involved in ‘Operation Varsity Blues’ attempt to navigate their future in the education system, a college admissions expert explains why they may never be accepted into other schools.
“Operation Varsity Blues” could derail any future schooling plans Olivia Jade, 19, and the other students involved in the largest college admissions scandal have, top college admissions expert, Pamela Donnelly tells HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. — This is if the students of the parents who bribed university officials and aided in SAT cheating are proven to be complicit in the scandal. “The issue is going to be that if the students have been found to be complicit, I believe that any [other] university is going to take a very significant pause before bringing them on board,” Donnelly explains. — That is because “every university has a values mission and a profile that includes, for example, non-plagiarism as a key tenant and other sort of moral fiber indicators that are possibly going to preclude those kids from getting in.”
Donnelly explains further: “It will be very difficult to find a University that is looking to have students come in who have demonstrated public profiles of ethical breaches.” However, Donnelly, who notes that she cannot factually predict anyone’s future, admits she’d be “very surprised that any University will accept a student with a demonstrated history of lying.” Olivia Jade’s famous parents, actress, Lori Loughlin, 54, and designer Mossimo Giannulli, 55, were among 50 others, including actress Felicity Huffman, 56, charged in a college admissions cheating scam to get their children into elite colleges and universities including Yale, Georgetown, the University of Southern California and Stanford. (It is unclear whether or not Olivia Jade and her sister Isabella Rose, 20, knew about the scandal).
If the students whose parents were involved in the admissions scandal are found guilty, Donnelly proposes that they should “lay very low for two years,” while attempting to get themselves enrolled into a community college. “Community colleges will not have those barriers to entry, [like other elite colleges and universities],” she explains. “They can attend a community college and get some honest grades on their own. If they can get a nice 3.5 or 4.0 [GPA] then try to apply to a college or university outside the community college.”
When asked if she believes Olivia Jade and the other students should make a public apology, Donnelly says that’s something she would not advise. “Academia is not about ego, academia is about the journey we all take as we think critically about our field of endeavor,” Donnelly reveals. “So, being able to show that they are capable of that type of introspection and not a public apology where they are on a gossip site talking about it.”
Instead, Donnelly suggests crossing over to the “ethical side of the fence” in the aftermath of the scandal. “Lead a genuine life for two years, grab your associates degree at a community college and be working during that time on building your way of communicating what you’ve learned from this hideous episode in your life,” she advises.
If a judge, along with USC and the other colleges and universities named in “Operation Varsity Blues” rule that Olivia Jade and the other students were not involved in the scandal, then the students could have a good chance at rebuilding their educational futures, Donnelly says. However, it will most likely be a decision that is case by case.
“As long as the student themselves are not found to be guilty of impropriety — in other words, that it was the parents without the students knowledge doing this — they will be judged separately on their own merits and would have a viable opportunity at other colleges and universities,” Donnelly explains.
The expert goes on to reveal that if the students decide to apply elsewhere, “it will need to be a college or university to which they can actually apply with the right fit for their test scores, their GPAs, and other aspects of their profile.” Therefore, their applications will appear much different, seeing as they would have to submit applications “without the additional support of those types of falsified pieces of content” included in their prior college admissions papers. Ultimately, there cannot be any “ethical breach on the part of the student” when applying to another university or college after the scandal.
As previously reported, Loughlin and her husband “agreed to pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team — despite the fact that they did not participate in crew — thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” according to official court documents obtained by HollywoodLife in March. The parents have been accused of using their level of fame, along with their massive finances to get their children ahead in the educational system. This is something Donnelly is trying to end with her new educational program, GATE, which stands for Grades, Applications, Testing, and Essays.
“There is disruption happening in educational technology,” Donnelly says, adding that GATE, “is on a mission to increase equitable access to higher education regardless of students’ socio-economic status.
“With the help of GATE all students able now able to compete for merit based financial aid, they apply for it directly through our platform and that will allow them to be able to afford to aspire to higher education,” Donnelly explains, noting that it will be easier for students to afford top educations with the help of GATE. “We’ve got 40 Ivy League level certified educators to help put together a platform so that our mind share is distilled into a step-by-step process. Our mission is to make it much more attainable for a kid to have what they need to be able to aspire to and afford a four year degree.”