• Guilty Admissions

  • The Bribes, Favors, and Phonies behind the College Cheating Scandal
  • By: Nicole LaPorte
  • Narrated by: Betsy Foldes Meiman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (131 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 preschool; nonstop 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.

©2021 Nicole LaPorte (P)2021 Twelve

Critic Reviews

"[A] riveting rundown of Operation Varsity Blues.... Readers will be captivated by this entertaining look behind the headlines." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Guilty Admissions

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  • Overall
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Roasting Rick (a more accurate title)

I felt turned off by the author who I wasn’t at all surprised to find out is a journalist and reporter by trade and once worked for a magazine called Vulture!

Like a vulture, the author feeds off the carrion of Rick Snyder’s already (!) decimated reputation then regurgitates it back to the public in this “book” which has the tone of mean girls gossip she acquired by obviously interviewing anyone who claimed to know the guy as if asking his EX wife or a guy he went to Highschool with was “investigative journalism.”

What a joke. The same market that consumed the snake oil salesmen Rick Snyder will likely consume this book and give rave reviews deluding themselves that bc they read it they are “in the know” know about some scandal.

The stupidest part was presenting him as a sociopath (antisocial) as if that just explains everything and absolves all the parents involved of responsibility or the burden of free will. Even if someone did diagnose Rick with APD - you have to be treating someone to diagnose them by the way - that’s not what this story is about and author too heavily weights this.

This is the story that shouldn’t be. Who didn’t know that money, power and influence rule America? Rick sounds like a poor kid who realized the American dream in true rags to riches style but then got greedy, went too far and committed crimes.

That doesn’t mean, as author implies, that everything he ever did was a crime (for example that Tab can story is the definition of petty exaggeration) not that he acted alone. He saw a market and he worked it. Now he’s the fall guy and rightly so. He broke the law but in classic scapegoat fashion fingering Rick doesn’t make anyone else more innocent and when the author talks about “the media” she should have been transparent that she meant herself.

54 people found this helpful

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Very captivating

This was a fascinating story and incredibly well-researched. Highly recommend to anyone remotely interested in the college admissions scandal!

7 people found this helpful

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Scary

I listened to the audiobook of GUILTY ADMISSIONS and have never been so happy not to have grown up wealthy and privileged. Investigative reporter takes readers through the pressures parents take on to have their toddlers get into the best private preschools so they can into their best private grade schools so they can get into the best private high schools so they can get into the best universities so parents can pat themselves on their backs and say, “we’re the best parents and we have the best child.”

One wise child development expert cautioned that if a child needs tutoring for preschool (let that sink in), she’ll need tutoring to be successful in nursery school. Propel that forward to Harvard. No attention is paid to the child’s strengths, weaknesses or desires, only the parents’ narcissistic desires.

An example of a child being pulled out of soccer at *age three* due to lack of kicking straight (let that sink in) in favor of swimming so he could excel and have a competitive advantage for COLLEGE made me cringe. The importance of muscle development, self-esteem or the child’s preference didn’t matter.

Though Rick Singer is a huge sleazeball, I don’t blame him. I blame the parents for their terrible values. If not for the parents, he wouldn’t have been successful in his cheating. He’s a criminal for sure, but without the parents there would have been no crime.

I think the parents got off light for their crimes, with the exception of Felicity Huffman who admitted her guilt right away, showed appropriate understanding and remorse and didn’t try to get out of her short sentence. The damage she did to her daughters and family is her biggest consequence, which she realized. I respect her for that.

I’d like to see where the families are in ten years, how the relationships between parents and children have evolved. Did the kids turn out to be self-centered assholes? Did they learn from their parents mistakes? Are any of them better people?

3 people found this helpful

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Pick and Peck

There seems to be no overall organization, it is just a little story here, another there.

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Excellent

great journalistic storytelling. great pace and excellent narration. I don't look for anything more and this delivered!

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Great in depth detail

Really enjoyed this one. I've seen the news stories but never really understood the scandal until listening to the book.

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Well Researched and Fascinating!

I was obsessed with this story when it was in the news, it was so disturbing that people are getting away with this type of bad behavior. I found Nicole LaPorte's book to be well researched and very interesting. I did not want to stop listening. She gave great insight into how Rick operated and how parents got sucked into his scheme. I also found her research on colleges and admissions on a general level fascinating. I highly recommend this book!

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Engaging and Informative

LaPorte’s in-depth look at the college admissions scandal, the officials involved, the man at the center, and the people who utilized the services of the deceptive Singer is an intelligent and easily digestible look not only into the scandal itself, but also into the world of college academics from admissions to athletics, as well as a close study of privilege, wealth and social status in education. LaPorte excellently explains precisely why people felt motivated to get involved in this racket, from coaches to administrators to parents, providing a more complete and understanding picture of how this scandal came to pass, rather than a simple condemnation of the individuals involved and their actions. The book is well researched and speaks to a larger issue in American education than college admissions and academic dishonesty alone. The conclusion of the book still leaves something to be desired in terms of details, but in tracking the rise of Rick Singer and the tactics he used to create and perpetuate his scheme, LaPorte has created an engaging, easy to listen to narrative that is worth any reader’s time.

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Guilty

Boy this was such a good story to be told to everyone. Everyone should read. Lots of good investigating.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

spent 90 minutes explaining why someone would pay

like we don't ALL know what college is. much less ivy league. this author apprently thinks we were all too stupid to get into college.