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Cheating on College Apps

gssmilesgssmiles Posts: 39Registered User Junior Member
edited June 2011 in College Admissions
My friend, a senior, has a great academic record and works pretty hard in class (3rd out of about 300 student, one B on transcript, 4 or 5-mostly 5s- on all AP tests taken). However, until last year, she didn't have many extracurriculars- she was historian of a small club in tenth grade, joined science Olympiad and science bowl in 11th grade and became Science Club vice-president this year (science club isn't that big). See to me, I felt like she had a great chance at lots of colleges.

But today she tells me that her brother (who is extremely smart and very well-connected in the small city we live in) talked to a bunch of different places/organizations/societies to let her put them as her extracurriculars, saying that she was very involved with them for over a year, etc. etc.. She said that at first she felt bad, but "everyone does this right?" I told her that no, I don't think most people do that.

Also, my friend has a history of cheating (on everything) until about 9th or 10th grade. I'm pretty sure she doesn't cheat (in class) anymore though.

But this just really disturbed and infuriated me. What are your thoughts? Shed some light. Do you think I should do anything?

On top of that, our valedictorian is president of NHS and vice-president of German club and does not do anything for those clubs. He also managed to lie somehow and get into Physics II AP without taking Physics I. He also makes fun of every single teacher behind their backs and complains forever whenever a teacher says he is wrong about something. Maybe a lot people do that, but in some classes, he literally keeps up a running commentary to the person next to him about how bad the teacher is.

Does anyone else have any experiences like this? Am I the only one? Please share!

I've had about enough of my school! lol
Post edited by gssmiles on
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Replies to: Cheating on College Apps

  • beliefbelief Posts: 579Registered User Member
    those cheaters will realize how on earth they deserved to get into a good school in the first place. when things get rough they're going to have a identity crisis and overall just fail in a panic because they will constantly question themselves as to their purpose in a good school if they can't handle the work bc they cheated.

    if they can't handle the work in high school, thus resorting to cheating, they're in a rude awakening in college.
  • mccormickt12mccormickt12 Posts: 504Registered User Member
    i dont think people cheat like that, i do think however people embellish their hours for community service. Most people i talked to rounded their hours up. I think that what she meant be everyone is doing it.
  • gssmilesgssmiles Posts: 39Registered User Junior Member
    McCormick, she's rounding up from 0 hours. These places are basically letting her say she's been involved with them to get into college. They're smaller organizations obviously but there's a big difference in saying you have 50 hours when you actually have 45 and saying you have 50 when you actually have 0.
  • mccormickt12mccormickt12 Posts: 504Registered User Member
    yes i totally understand what your saying, but im saying that it how she is probabaly justifying it to her self. Now i agree that it is completely unfair, but colleges often have ways have discovering lies. THey dont always but you can hope.
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Posts: 24,853Registered User Senior Member
    She is hurting herself because she'll always wonder if she would have gotten into colleges without lying.

    Meanwhile, what she's doing will make no difference to the results of her college applications. The great majority of colleges make admissions decisions only based on students' academic stats and -- for public colleges -- students' state of residence.

    The few colleges that use ECs are places like Harvard with such an overabundance of high stat applicants that the colleges use ECs to pick and choose from among those outstanding students the ones who'll most contribute to an active student body.

    ECs have to be truly outstanding to stand out in the admissions for those schools: being a national NHS officer or a national or state winner in academic competitions, for example. Such colleges don't care about how many hours one has devoted to community service or what clubs you belong to. They care about the impact of one's actions in one's ECs and service activities. Lying so as to stand out for ECs/ service would be very easy to disprove, and probably would lead to one's being rejected.

    Your sister's ECs -- including the lies she plans to tell -- would not make her stand out for admission to such colleges.

    And, no, not everyone lies about their ECs. Both of my sons were active in various things and were more likely to forget to list ECs/service than to remember to put them down. I know other students like that -- people who are very busy doing things that they are passionate about. They don't do them to look good to colleges. They like being active and involved.
  • tb0mb93tb0mb93 Posts: 1,320Registered User Senior Member
    Sorry, but if she is lieing about all this stuff, she will not feel guilty about getting into a top college, and she will most likely not get caught. Life is unfair and full of dishonest people
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Posts: 24,853Registered User Senior Member
    tb0mb93,
    She's not going to get into a top college because her fake ECs/community service won't stand out in admissions. She'd have to put even bigger lies on her applications to stand out for top colleges, and college would be likely to catch those lies.
  • BrownParentBrownParent Posts: 7,111Registered User Senior Member
    Your friend is wrong about doing this. No, I don't believe most people cheat on their applications. At my daughter's high school, the GC knows pretty much everything about the applicants by Sr year, so he would not be mentioning these fake activities in his recco, so they would stand out as fake. Also her school had an honor code that was well placed above the academic code, so it would be unusual to think you would or had to resort to this.

    Speaking to that, this girl with good ability and placement does not have to resort to that. She would be resorting to a huge FAIL on an ethical level that could get her expelled at any time should it be discovered. Her brother sounds like a dirtbag. It is hard to believe that agencies would falsify volunteer efforts.

    Her EC's are good enough, if not stellar. My daughter edited a small literary mag, that you could say wasn't huge or important at the HS level, but she did it for 2 years and she published material anon from closet gay contributors and others to let their voices be heard. This was about integrity, confidentiality and just doing the work. She didn't write about it, just listed it on the application, but I'm sure her GC did mention it, he thought it important to edit or contribute to it and he said so at a student fair. (however she did have an unusual and deep other EC.) She could have written an essay on that, even though it wasn't high profile at her school.

    Have you spoken to your friend about your views yet? It is sad for you, I'm sure, and ugly. If you want to do something, I think you should talk to your friend first. It is a difficult decision go to the GC about this sort of thing.

    About the val, again do you want to go there or no? Do you really have personal info? There is no reason someone should not advance placement in a course if they can do the work, you are off base there.
  • glassesarechicglassesarechic Posts: 5,481Registered User Senior Member
    She's not going to get into a top college because her fake ECs/community service won't stand out in admissions. She'd have to put even bigger lies on her applications to stand out for top colleges, and college would be likely to catch those lies.

    This.
    10char
  • Grape1Grape1 Posts: 221Registered User Junior Member
    @Northstarmom:

    I've noticed on the various threads that people have posted about the effect of lying about EC's, you've repeatedly said that for the best schools this isn't helpful because you would never be able to lie about anything significant. I think that's completely true, but what about all the schools that are still very selective but do not have as strong an applicantion pool as the top five or so schools that you are referring to? All of the Common App's member colleges, of which there are 415, claim to consider EC's to some extent. Not all of them have such excellent applicantion pools that they can select only those with the best EC's; at a certain point mundane activities become better than no activities at all.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, and I think that for the schools you're referring to you are completely right (certainly as a Harvard interviewer you would know). However, we must unfortunately admit that lying about EC's is not completely fruitless. It won't get you in to Harvard, but it could save you from getting rejected somewhere else. The best thing to hope for is that admissions officers do their job well and see through it.
  • intemisterintemister Posts: 509Registered User Member
    Very shallow to say the least.
  • artloversplusartloversplus Posts: 5,014Registered User Senior Member
    She will be caught lying some how. I remember there is an article on cc that this local interviewer think this kid lied about his heavy involvement in a community service the interviewer's son is the president. At the end of the interview, he casually asked the kid did he know his son by the name, the kid said no, that was end of the cheating.

    A cheater will always be a cheater, when the lies got caught that is when everything reveals and the society will not forgive. She wiill be punished by than.
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Posts: 24,853Registered User Senior Member
    I was the interviewer in the story that artloverplus told.

    I also caught an interviewee lying about their favorite book. It was an obscure book that happened to be one of my favorites. It had originally started as a newspaper article that was assigned by one of my friends, who had been a top editor at a major newspaper. I also knew the person who wrote the book. From what the interviewee said, I could tell he had never read the book.

    Neither student was accepted to my alma mater, which obviously had been very interested in both since the admissions officer contacted me to ask follow-up questions on my interview report.
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Posts: 24,853Registered User Senior Member
    "think that's completely true, but what about all the schools that are still very selective but do not have as strong an applicantion pool as the top five or so schools that you are referring to? All of the Common App's member colleges, of which there are 415, claim to consider EC's to some extent. Not all of them have such excellent applicantion pools that they can select only those with the best EC's; at a certain point mundane activities become better than no activities at all.
    "

    I don't think that having a few mundane activities helps one get admitted to schools that are not highly competitive. Unlike places like Harvard -- which have the highest graduation rates in the country -- with rates as high as 97% -- other colleges have more difficulty finding students who'll graduate. Consequently, what is most important and most difficult for such schools is finding students with the academic stats that indicate the students won't flunk out or drop out of college.

    I doubt that having some mediocre ECs is going to tip students into such schools. The schools would be more likely to take a chance on someone with high SATs, mediocre grades or the reverse. The schools are more interested in having good graduation rates than having an active student body because such schools can't take their graduation rates for granted like the top colleges can.

    While students at top colleges have track records of being able to maintain high grades while pursuing time-intensive extracurriculars, that also is not as likely to be the case at less competitive schools, where the students who pursue ECs intensely may be more likely to have resulting academic problems.
  • boysx3boysx3 Posts: 5,146Registered User Senior Member
    What applicants may not realize is that admissions people look at the application as a whole single entity. It's not like they look at the EC list and check off an item on a list "yes" or "no".

    Most ECs don't stand out except to show that the applicant didn't study 100% of the time. When an EC is strong enough to make a difference for an applicant, involvement will shine from multiple areas of the application.

    For example, the letters from the guidance counselor and the teachers will highlight the applicants involvement/achievement. If the EC mentioned is not mentioned by recommenders, or is an EC that is outside of school, it takes only seconds to google for corroboration.
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