Transcript Forgery Concerns (Serious Inquiry)

<p>Hello members of College Confidential,</p>

<p>I come to you with a rather serious query today.</p>

<p>I have discovered that the son of a friend of mine skillfully forged a high school transcript of his and sent it in to a few colleges this previous fall. I discovered this when he mistakenly emailed me a copy of the original, while applying for a summer internship at my machining workshop.</p>

<p>I have notified him that I am aware of his dishonesty and he has revealed to me how he was able to forge it.</p>

<p>This has become a major moral dilemma for me, because on one hand, he did something very dishonest but on the other, his father and I are very good friends dating back decades.</p>

<p>My question is this:</p>

<li>Will the colleges he sent the transcript to find out? Do they screen for fake transcripts? Are admissions officers vigilant when it comes to this type of thing?</li>

<p>I am under the impression that the transcript looked 100% legitimate. He also mailed it directly from the post office where the mail is sent from school.</p>

<li><p>If he is caught, will legal action be taken against him by the colleges or his high school. If so, I am inclined to tell the colleges now and work it out with them so no charges are filed. Would this constitute a crime? I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the crime of forgery is limited to passing “legal documents” such as checks off as legitimate.</p></li>
<li><p>Have any of you faced similar issues with forgery? Is this common in the all-too-competitive college admissions world? With a daughter of my own entering high school next year, this is very disconcerting.</p></li>

<p>Here are some more troubling details that should clear up some of the confusion here.</p>

<li><p>The young man is extremely intelligent and cunning. He actually got a 23xx on his SAT, but slacked off in high school. Thus, he applied to a few top 20 schools. Will those schools be more vigilant with the transcripts?</p></li>
<li><p>He forged the transcript 100% accurately, including creating the raised, embossed watermark, which he fabricated himself. He also created fake seals and fake stickers for the transcript and an envelope which looked exactly like the one the school would mail out.</p></li>
<li><p>The only thing that was different was that the school mails its envelopes with an automated postal system called neopost, which prints an orange coded stamp over the envelope. He informs me that the stamp he used was a regular one. He thinks (and I agree) that this is the only way that they would spot his dishonesty.</p></li>
<li><p>swimcatsmom- Do colleges request official transcripts from the school after admission is offered? Do they send that request directly to the school? If this is the case, he may be found out. I think he was unaware of this. If the college contacts the high school, he will be found out.</p></li>

<p>Is it common for colleges to contact high schools after admission is offered to screen against falsified documents? Do they do that for every student, or only for cases in which they suspect forgery.</p>

<p>Barring their suspicion over the regular stamp instead of the automated one, there would be no reason for them to suspect anything. His falsified grades are consistent with his SAT score, so it isn’t like he represented a 4.5 with a low SAT score.</p>

<p>My main question is whether or not the colleges will find out on their own, specifically by requesting a transcript DIRECTLY from the school that he will be unable to intercept and falsify. It seems to me that is the only way he will be caught on his own.</p>

<p>I do not want to involve the principle at this time, because she is known to be extremely vindictive and harsh. I am afraid she will go to the police or take extremely rash and drastic action against this young man. However, I may speak to his high school counselor and see if he can cancel the applications he falsified.</p>

<p>Again, thank you for all your help on this matter.</p>

<p>Thank you,</p>

<p>wow thats a pretty sly kid. Wonder how he did the watermark...</p>

<p>I wouldnt worry though. Its not like its impacting you. If he feels that he needs to lie to get ahead, oh well..shame on him. I believe in karma and someday..he will get his share of justice.</p>

<p>I agree that it's likely in this young man's best interest for you to step up now. If he is caught later on, the consequences may be far more severe (as in, rescinding his acceptances or legal action, if you think your school district may press charges). I understand your concerns over a lost friendship, but I think failing to step forward with this information could lead to an even stickier situation down the road.</p>

<p>I would come forward now, too. Perhaps tell the student he has to come clean to his dad in x amount of days or you'll tell for him. I think it would be better for him to have to wait a year and apply to different schools than to have his degree revoked postgraduation or to get kicked out junior or senior year if the college happened to find out.</p>

<p>If caught, do you think that either the college or the high school would press charges? The high school is private.</p>

<p>I'm sure students have been caught before doing this, with less sophisticated forgeries. </p>

<p>Have colleges historically pressed charges? High schools?</p>

<p>I'm not sure, but as I understand it- stealing the high school's original transcript would be illegal, forging the documents would be unethical. I think, depending on the laws of the area in which you live, forging the documents could also be construed as fraud. The high school might deal with this without taking legal action since schools try to protect their students and a private high school would want to protect its college acceptances and reputation.</p>

<p>..... Just out of curiosity, didn't he also have to have guidance counselor recommendations? If so, I should think that those two documents would contain a high number of contradictions. I do suggest that you still talk to the guidance counselor, who if s/he has any merit, will write letters to every college/university that he applied to telling them that he falsified information. Colleges, I think, don't really screen for fake transcripts, but if they see something funny in your application, they might want to investigate. </p>

<p>If forging a transcript is "true" forgery under the law, just remember that first and foremost, it's entirely a school matter. Schools can choose to deal with it on their own or go to the police. For example, they may decide that he may not be allowed to walk at graduation or otherwise.</p>

<p>^I was just thinking the same thing about the recommendation letters. If a counselor said that he was a lazy kid whose grades don't show his true potential or if they tried to explain away his truly low grades, colleges are going to realize something's up.</p>

<p>A moral and ethical dilema indeed. How you deal with it may best be served by your own psyche, moral character and personal ethics. I do not envy your position.</p>

<p>Be advised that most if not all colleges/universities request a final transcript be sent by or from the high school after acceptance. The specifics of how and when this is done is governed by administrative procedures at the high school level. I cannot speculate if it is student initiated, a request from additional info by the admitting college, or "automatic" by the high school guidance counselor/department.</p>

<p>By "last fall" I assume you mean for college admission academic year beginning
fall '08. If this is the case, I am fairly confident discrepancies between the "final" version yet to be sent and the altered previously submitted version will be detected, and questioned.</p>

<p>I cannot speculate on the ramifications, other than to offer they would not bode well for this student.</p>

<p>Good luck to you.</p>

<p>When I was a college admissions officer (long ago), a fellow officer turned up a forgery. What happened was that the candiate looked really great, so the officer called the college counselor to put in a little p.r. (on behalf of the college) and to see where the college stood in the applicant's interests (this was in the good old days when colleges went after students). In the ensuing conversation, the counselor and the admissions officer realized the transcript had been falsified. We withdrew the application immediately, but I do not know what the high school did. So, at least in one instance, a student was caught. It is definitely possible. I believe that if there is any difference between the record and the comments of the counselor and/or teachers, at least the selective liberal arts colleges will look into the matter.</p>


<p>You know too much. You admitted you are cunning...and that you are. </p>

<p>I believe <em>you</em> should come clean right away. You have too much to lose.</p>

<p>yeah. seriously this whole time im thinking it was him</p>

<p>I agree with orangecolor that the whole 'son of a friend of mine' cover is pretty weak. </p>

<p>The risk/reward ratio of this scheme isn't particularly impressive. Tell your counselor to cancel the applications.</p>

1. The young man is extremely intelligent and cunning. He actually got a 23xx on his SAT, but slacked off in high school. Thus, he applied to a few top 20 schools. Will those schools be more vigilant with the transcripts?</p>

<li>He forged the transcript 100% accurately, including creating the raised, embossed watermark, which he fabricated himself. He also created fake seals and fake stickers for the transcript and an envelope which looked exactly like the one the school would mail out.


<p>That is fairly impressive. I also wonder how exactly he managed to produce a custom raised and embossed watermark (!). A career in the CIA would perhaps befit him.</p>

<p>But it is dishonest, malicious, and downright wrong. You should notify the schools (indirectly, at least) that the student has forged his transcript. If you were simply to email them about the matter and to explain how to detect the forgery, they might not contact the student's high school (you could even plead with them not to do so). On the other hand, if the kid is truly bad, maybe letting his parents and high school know is the best option.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>If the kid does get into the schools he applied to, he will most likely continue his lazy ways and flunk out.</p>

<p>That kid must have had some access to a printing store to come up with seals and stickers like that!</p>

<p>Have you tried to convince the kid that it would be in his best interest to come clean to the colleges? I'd say it's either him or you... Final transcripts ARE almost always required, and most private schools, knowing that you've gotten into a certain college and are planning on going, plan on sending your final transcript to your chosen college. This kid's going to get found out.</p>

<p>I'd tell the kid that he needs to go see his school's guidance counselor tomorrow, or that you're going to report it to the guidance counselor. I wouldn't go directly to the colleges. See what the school has to say, first. They at least know the kid and may be willing to help with damage control, and they're going to find out about it eventually anyhow.</p>

<p>As a previous poster said, I don't envy your position, but I think that if you let it slide now, the kid's going to inevitably get found out, and better now when there are still some slim options available to him than later when he's in a whole heap of trouble with nowhere else to go.</p>

<p>PS- I would guess that if it's a reasonably small private school, the school perhaps already thinks something's up. Kid's applying to several selective colleges and didn't order any transcripts from the registrar? Hmm...</p>

<p>honestly, you guys are beating a dead horse. If he managed to do all of that so far there is no way he is going to withdraw his applications on a moral basis. Either rat him out or no. That simple.</p>

<p>people like this are disgusting....honestly, I would just report this trash's way of doing things.</p>

<p>I also suggest you give him a day or two to come clean with his parents and the guidance counselor and inform him that if he doesn't, you will and explain to him why it is better if he does. If he comes forward himself, the high school may go easier on him. I don't think the college will do much more than drop his application.</p>

<p>I would be extremely careful about becoming any more involved in this than you already are. This kid is very unstable and YOU could become a victim of his instability. How does he feel right now? Since you have obviously discussed this with him, is he worried, concerned? Has he expressed remorse, guilt or fear? Be careful what you threaten him with. I would NOT go to his school. If you talk to anyone tell his father, and be prepared to lose a friend. What this kid has done may be a result of abuse from his parents. Be prepared to know more than you may want to know. His own family should be the people to deal with this. The kid needs some serious emotional help.</p>