College Stress creates Inaccurate Applications

Dana Shefet, Editor-in-Chief

As high school seniors around the country fill out applications to college, many are faced with the urge to lie and twist the truth in order to gain an edge over the competition of the rest of the applicants. The pressure to be accepted to any university, whether it comes from parents or the student themselves, is stronger now than ever and many students are giving in to the desire to dishonestly tweak their applications. If a student is not confident that their high school resume will impress the college admissions counselors, a common reaction is to exaggerate their extracurriculars and involvements to give off an overall better impression and help their chances of being accepted.

A common exaggeration seen on applications is in regards to the number of service hours students complete. Many times students say they volunteer over 200 hours each year when they really only completed around 75 hours. Some students claim to have been active members of clubs such as Key Club and Spanish Club despite only attending the first interest meeting. Some students even create leadership positions in clubs that do not even exist just to fluff up their resume even more. Some students seem to think that anything is worth getting into their dream school, even risking their honesty to get in.

Although many students believe that there is no way a college could ever find out that their applications are inaccurate to their true high school career, efforts to detect applications with false information have been growing. Universities have systems that carefully check every applicant’s transcript, recommendation letters, GPA and test scores. Therefore if an applicant attempts to say they scored higher than they actually did, they have records from the school as well as from College Board stating their true scores, rather than scores that could have been made up by the applicant.

There is a small percentage of applications to each university that get checked very closely for accuracy of extracurriculars and scores. If a student is selected in the sample, the university may contact the student’s counselor, teacher, or anyone that can confirm  the claims made. Although being selected in the sample of verification is small, if a student is to have been found lying on their application will result in immediate rejection from the school and blacklisted from any other schools who find this out. If one school in the UNC system caught a student lying on their application, then all the other UNC system schools will be informed and the caught student will be forced to either pay out-of-state tuition, or even be charged with fraud, depending on the severity of the lie.

If a student is not confident enough in their extracurriculars, test scores and school involvements, then that student probably does not deserve to be accepted into their dream school in the first place. When students lie on applications, they are cheating the system and are reserving spots that could have gone to more qualified, deserving students who were honest when applying to college.

Instead of taking a dishonest route to receiving an acceptance into college, students should be proud of all they have accomplished during their high school years. Giving colleges an accurate representation of the applicant helps colleges get to know you as a person rather than who you think colleges want you to be. Who knows, maybe one’s dream college may just accept the honest application – and that would be more satisfying than lying one’s way into college would ever be.