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Details continue to emerge in the unfurling tale of the nationwide college admissions fraud scandal.
For days, we’ve known that up to 50 people were involved in the largest case of fraud in college admissions ever filed by federal authorities. We know that wealthy parents—including famous actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman—cheated the system to allow their children entry into choice universities. We know that William Rick Singer and his company, the Key, worked with these wealthy parents—they cheated, bribed, and lied their way to an acceptance letter.
Now we know something else. In 2013, Singer uploaded several YouTube videos explaining how he assisted students to reach their college goals. The videos never gained much traction, getting a collective 6,200 views between them. In all three, Singer explains to viewers how he—college prep and life coach extrodinaire—helped talented young people enter college.
The videos are clearly meant to boost his brand, but through the lens of the scandal, they are cringe-worthy at best. In one, titled “Getting In / The Right Fit,” Singer describes how he helped a young woman named Whitney, who now runs “a major ad agency” get into college. Essentially, he helped her to take the SAT and assisted her in making a game plan for a four-year university. In one video, Singer advises people to take “copious notes” in class, to better understand the material. Um, thanks?
“Don’t be afraid to find other people to help you,” Singer said, in another video titled “Personal Best.” The advice lands with a sour note, considering he pled guilty to four federal charges on Tuesday. The charges include racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The help he really offered to students—at least those from wealthy families—relied on bribery and fraud rather than genuine college prep.
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Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.