The DIRE CONSEQUENCES of lying on your college application
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The DIRE CONSEQUENCES of lying on your college application

Admission Counselling :
  • Written by UnivAdmitHelp
  • Category: Admission Application
  • Published on 01 Oct 2019

Ethics and trust in college applications

The US admissions scandal, in case you missed it, has unearthed the seedy underbelly of admissions in some of the world’s top, most desired, most elite schools. It could broadly be termed as a consequence of wealthy parents (some of whom are now sentenced) looking for an easy and sure-shot way for their child to gain admission into the best schools of the country. Authorities and applicants were glove in hand. They manipulated the system with money and power and faked special needs, superstar sporting skills, to gain admission. Consequentially, it has unearthed a chain of people, from life-coaches to the sports department, who were all involved and now people even begin to be sent behind bars.

When you begin your application for college education, here’s all you should be wary of:


  • The essay: While you might feel tempted to take help from a grown up while writing your essay, do keep in mind that colleges have many checks in place for admissions. A machine learning algorithm designed to analysis writing style can quickly indicate the gender and age of the real author. This is widely used to avoid plagiarism and is indubitably very efficient in its analysis. 


  • Qualifications and achievements: Do not make things up. A background check reveals the true picture.


  • Decoration: There’s a fine line between “school topper” and “1st rank”. Even if the school certifies a student as a topper, in fine print, a closer look will reveal the difference. Sometimes the top 5-10 students are clubbed as toppers. Also, for example, if a student’s resume claims that they had a lead role in The Merchant of Venice, but their drama instructor’s recommendation praises them for admirable work as a stagehand, suspicions will inevitably arise. 


Applicants take comfort in the fact that there’s a very large number of applications. In that case it might be hard to weed out inconsistencies for the college. One might imagine that some tiny decorations, some assistance in writing the essays and the answers might go unnoticed. But it shows up in the system. A well known case of plagiarism at Harvard is of Adam Wheeler.  Adam Wheeler was a student at Harvard who not only fabricated SAT scores, transcripts and recommendations in order to gain acceptance but then went on to forge additional documents while attending the school in order to compete for prestigious prizes. Then there’s the case of Akash Maharaj who fabricated a whole life for himself. He “wanted to make something of himself, so he made himself someone else.” He forged a Columbia transcript in order to transfer to Yale, in the process, becoming famous for all the wrong reasons.

Applications from India, China, South Korea are habitually placed under greater scrutiny than usual. Firstly, because they are in really large numbers. A huge percentage of international applicants in most universities are from the A-PAC region. There have been incidents in the past where entire applications were fabricated. Subsequently, applications are typically subjected to a fine combing process. If you do decorate your application with some half-truths, this is one reason why it might not hold up under the magnifying glass. 


What happens then?

  • The application is denied. The process usually works with the belief that if the student could lie in the admission, they would most likely be dishonest in the course as well. They might cheat and plagiarise.
  • If you lie on your college application, and you are found out, you’re not getting in. You're not getting in. Your application might be blacklisted - and applying to any other college would be impossible. So the risk dramatically outweighs any potential reward.

In short:

  • Write the essay yourself
  • Do not make up extracurricular activities
  • Your interests should match your past pursuits
  • Never outright lie or forge

It might be hard to believe, but college admission officers are not looking for supermen to join the college. They are looking for well-rounded individuals who are capable of communicating their interests and achievements and are looking to learn from their course. 

Further Reading:

How to Choose your Admissions Counselor?

Before You Apply

Align your Persona with that of the University that you are planning to get in

How Important are SAT/ACT scores