The Bribes, Favors, and Phonies behind the College Cheating Scandal
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 pre-school; non-stop 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.
“In this captivating investigation, reporter Nicole LaPorte exposes the systemic inequality, admissions chaos, and status anxiety that let a breathtakingly unscrupulous former coach run plays on some of the top schools in America. With rigorous reporting and deft storytelling, LaPorte illustrates how these outrageous ‘side-door’ schemes became just another perk available to the ultra-privileged.”—Ada Calhoun, author of Why We Can’t Sleep
“Fish rot from the head down. In the chronicle of the corruption of the American elite (and the betrayal of the country that elite is meant to lead), the college bribery scandal represents an especially appalling—and revealing—chapter. In GUILTY ADMISSIONS, Nicole LaPorte, writes that chapter with insight and verve. She not only gives us the jaw-dropping details, she also conveys their larger context: the sociology of a gilded class of Southern Californians for whom enough is never enough and of the schools and colleges whose own corruptions they exploit.”—Bill Deresiewicz, best-selling author of Excellent Sheep and The Death of the Artist
—Jonathan Abrams, the New York Times