T O P

Can't you just lie about your extra-curriculars?

Can't you just lie about your extra-curriculars?

prsehgal

You could, but you shouldn't... And yes, they can always ask you to submit proof of a certain EC activity.


GeneralZaroff1

Realistically, though, I don't think I've ever ever ever encountered a student who has had an AO ask for proof, and anything that happens out of school can't be verified by a counsellor anyway. The only thing they can really verify I think is major awards, competitions, maybe internships. Realistically, if your main essay was some wilderness retreat, a story about you doing a volunteering trip to a third world country, developing an app that sold $___ , led a research project or something that's not easily verifiable, they're just going to take your word for it. All you have to do is not mention it to your friends and you don't even have a chance of getting reported.


[deleted]

Yeah lol but when you're applying to top colleges, the top extracurriculars and awards are what get you in - and those are all very, very easy to verify. If you want to get into MIT as a math-focused student, for example, USAMO would be very helpful and the list of qualifiers is available online. If you lie, you're done. The stuff you can lie about, like 200 volunteer hours instead of 100, aren't going to get you in because AOs don't really care about them. Lastly, if you aren't applying to top colleges, all AOs want (besides essays, but how can you lie on them?) is great grades and it is impossible to lie on a transcript.


GeneralZaroff1

I've thought about that too but the reality is that while MOST of the top ECs will get you in, there are plenty of students who make it through without them too. There are tens of thousands of students getting into t20 and t30 programs every year, and not all of them win the Nationals. The reality is that while we know we SHOULD be honest, plenty of liars get in by choosing to lie. Remember the Stanford scandal a while back when it turns out some of the top admission advisors were having their clients lie about even their *race*? I think it's nice to say "lying never works and baddies get their day" but the truth is, plenty of liars never get caught in the world and baddies don't all get their comuppances. Some of them just graduate and keep getting ahead by lying.


[deleted]

This is true to some extent...but what does complaining do about it? The only thing you can do is work harder. I can say for a fact that while many of the people who are at the top of their fields may have cheated at some point or another, they have all worked extremely hard to get where they are today.


GeneralZaroff1

I completely agree. I was mostly just answering the question OP asked as I often see people say it's impossible to lie to AOs when in reality, it happens all the time. I think acknowledging the problem allows the industry to begin to fix it. And you're right that complaining does nothing, I hope that wasn't how I was coming off.


toyota2003

You "**could**" lie about your extracurriculars like you "**could**" pickpocket a wallet from an old lady who fell asleep on the train.


staplesuponstaples

I agree that lying about extracurriculars sucks but did you really think that cheating a multi-billion industry is an apt comparison to robbing a vulnerable elderly person (who probably doesn't live off much more than social security)?


Little_Hat_2286

You kinda missed the point. The point is its very easy for the vast majority of people to lie about their extracurriculars just like its easy for the vast majority of people to pick pocket from an old lady. Its easy to get away with but its unethical


toyota2003

I meant a rich old lady, I should have made that clear, sorry. And the comparison isn't so much about the situation, but more so about the consequences compared to how little the action improves your life. Lying about extracurriculars for a slight boost in admissions, compared to the severe consequences for doing so if caught, is similar to stealing an old lady's wallet to get maybe $200, compared to the severe consequences of getting caught. It's not worth it.


staplesuponstaples

oh, i see. that makes sense.


Royal-Championship-2

I know a student who lied about an internship. Family friend told him he could just use their company and say he did a research internship there, and he did so, but it wasn't even the strongest thing on his app. He applied SCEA to Stanford, and they called to verify it, but they don't call the C-suite, they called Human Resources and they had no record of him there. He got called out of class by counseling, because Stanford called the school. The sad thing is he was in the admit pile, his file chosen to verify, and that internship wasn't the reason they admitted him. Don't lie. Totally not worth it.


allrightevans

This is so horrifying. Yeesh


RichInPitt

Actually, I’m not at all horrified by a cheater getting caught.


allrightevans

It's the story that's horrifying, I could not care less for the cheater actually. It sounds like a door creaking slow burn horror movie. Called out of class to verify a lie on your college app. Sounds so nightmarish to even think about.


[deleted]

fr


nunnu_nana

It sounds like a fake story... if they want to verify they do not do that behind the person (that is not professional). Of course, I do not encourage you to tell a lie but this could be a fake story with a high chance. If they need to verify, they would like to contact the student first and ask to verify (College admission is not a joke).


[deleted]

this is horrifying


ScholarGrade

Every year, usually around this time, students begin to discuss the temptation to lie on their application or with how to handle someone else they know who did. The recent admission scandals have shown more clearly than ever how this can go horribly wrong. Most people here are probably familiar with those, but this isn't a new problem. Let's look at some other examples and analyze this question. 1. [Here's a story in the NYT from 2008 of a kid who lied to get in to Yale.](https://mobile.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/education/10yale.html) He ended up getting kicked out of Yale and charged with grand larceny, forgery, and other crimes by the state of Connecticut. 2. [Here's the account of Adam Wheeler, who was kicked out of Harvard for lying on his application and found guilty of 20 different charges of fraud, larceny, and falsification.](https://www.thecrimson.com/article/2010/12/16/harvard-wheeler-college-guilty/?page=single). Wheeler was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail, 10 years probation, and ordered to repay $45K in grants and aid, *even though he never personally received the money.* 3. [Here's a Time Magazine story](http://nation.time.com/2013/10/17/seven-shocking-college-admissions-scandals/) of 7 different college admissions scandals. Kids who cheated on the SAT got kicked out of school and charged with felonies. Kid caught lying on his Harvard app got kicked out. 4. [Here's a Reddit post of a guy who lied and cheated to get in to a top school and got away with it](https://www.reddit.com/r/needadvice/comments/1xvahj/need_advice_i_blatantly_lied_all_over_my_college/). Except most of the post is about how torn up he is over it, how he feels like his life is ruined, how he wants to come clean even if it means getting expelled, and how it pushed him to drug use that has become problematic and debilitating. But how will you get caught? According to the IvyCoach blog, "Some universities such as MIT actually check up on a random selection of applicants to ensure that what they put on their application is the truth. They do this in the hope of not only deterring people from lying but in the hope of catching applicants once they lie so that these students will not become members of their incoming class of admitted students." From the CollegeWise admissions blog: >"Colleges know how to spot inconsistencies in your application. They notice when things you say don't match with what your teachers or counselors say in the letters of recommendation. And colleges won't hesitate to call your counselor to verify information that doesn't seem right. They don't do it to catch you in a lie. They do it to make sure they have accurate information. >So sure, it's possible that you could claim to be a National Merit finalist and the college would never know. You could claim to have played two years of varsity soccer when you only played one, that you did 50 hours of community service you didn't really do, or that you've never been suspended from school when, in fact, you were suspended once as a freshman. A college might never find out. >But the real question is, is it worth the risk? >If you lie on your college application and a college finds out–no matter what the lie is or how they find out–that's it. You're not getting in. And it wouldn't be unheard of for colleges to tell your other colleges what you did. Colleges know that kids who are willing to take that risk are more likely to do things like cheat on a test or plagiarize a paper. So the risk dramatically outweighs any potential reward. And when you sign your college application, you're signing a formal document stating that all of the information is true to the best of your knowledge. So if you get caught, forget it. There will be no apologizing your way out of it." Numerous college admissions websites and other sources on Reddit and elsewhere corroborate that colleges can deny you, impact your admission elsewhere, kick you out, **or even cancel your degree after you graduate** if they find out you lied to get in. They can also press charges or sue to reclaim scholarships or other aid you got illegally. Remember that if you lie to get in and accept ANY financial aid, you are *stealing that money*. Are you sure you want to steal a 5 or 6 figure sum? That's a serious offense and could carry some heavy consequences. If you're aware of someone else who is committing financial aid fraud, [here's a post on how to handle and report that.](https://www.reddit.com/r/ApplyingToCollege/comments/asptha/how_to_handle_and_report_financial_aid_fraud/) As a specific example, Harvard's admissions site at one point had their application integrity policy spelled out: >"MISREPRESENTATION OF CREDENTIALS >Be completely accurate in your application materials. If we discover a misrepresentation during the admissions process, you will be denied admission. If you have already been admitted, your offer will typically be withdrawn. If you have already registered, your admission will normally be revoked, and we will require you to leave the College. Harvard rescinds degrees if misrepresentations in application materials are discovered. >The determination that an application is inaccurate or contains misrepresentations rests solely with the Admissions Office and will be resolved outside the student disciplinary process." Note that the admissions office has full power (judge, jury, & executioner). The big frauds are the ones you hear about and make the news. You'll never know about the otherwise qualified applicant who stretched the truth a little and just got denied for it. Some of those outstanding applicants who post sob stories on College Confidential where they went 0-10 could be because they lied, got caught, and then got rejected across the board for it. You can't ever know for sure that you won't get caught. I've seen people on this sub consider lying about URM status, but that's a bad idea too. There are sometimes follow up questions when it comes to more rare URMs like Native American. They might want to know what tribe you're registered with or ancestral line you're from. They have ways of checking up on stuff like this, such as ensuring that your application matches the information your high school has on record for you. If none of your essays, ECs, recommendations, etc have any "cultural flavor" the URM impact can be significantly diminished anyway. Do you really think you can fake your entire culture and never get caught? Here's another way to think about it. There are actual organizations in some parts of the world which go through Mission-Impossible-like schemes to obtain a test bank for an upcoming standardized test. Once they get one, students (or sometimes people hired impersonate the student) study the stolen bank for weeks to ensure they can get a perfect score. If getting an edge was as easy as simply checking a different box, exaggerating service hours, or fabricating some leadership, why would they go through all that effort? Do you think you're the first 17 year old to envision such a *brilliant* idea, or even the first your AO encounters *this month*? There are documented cases of students lying about less significant things and getting kicked out of school later. For example I heard of a guy who said he had a disability/injury so he could get an accessible (and much larger) dorm room. When he was discovered, he was kicked out of school. UCLA includes the following statement in one of their admission guides: >"UCLA expects an application to be the work of the student and any deviation that violates University policy may lead to rejection of application materials, revocation of an admission offer, cancellation of admission, or involuntary withdrawal from the University. There is no formula for gaining admission to UCLA. Students with vastly different credentials come from thousands of secondary schools across the country and around the world. What unifies our students are the talents they bring to UCLA and their passion to explore all that UCLA has to offer." It is certainly true that admissions offices do not have time to verify every detail of every application, however as former Penn Dean of Admissions Eric Furda once famously quipped, **"With an eight percent admit rate if we’re not quite sure about something, guess what, we don’t have to take the risk."** This isn't really any different from academic integrity violations. Every year there are a handful of students at most colleges who are kicked out for plagiarism. Sure, some students cheat and get away with it. But the ones who don't sure pay the price. I am no more jealous of those people than I am of wealthy drug dealers or human traffickers. I do not envy a 300 pound man the extra pleasure he's had at the dinner table. Neither do I envy the Ivy admit who faked his way in. The bottom line: if you're only going to stretch the truth a little bit, sure you will likely get away with it. But the risk is still there and the benefit is very marginal. The more you lie, the more likely it is that you will get caught. Just be honest, and be yourself. TL;DR - No, you shouldn't lie. If you're thinking about it, please read the post and reconsider. EDIT: BUT ALSO, you don't need to be paranoid about this. If you list the things you did honestly, it's ok to take credit for them. I've gotten tons of messages from good students with over-sensitive consciences asking if the odd thing they did is going to trigger red flags. If you're honest you don't have anything to worry about. If you're still worried, just ask one of your recommenders to corroborate your account.


a2c2021throwaway

>There are actual organizations in some parts of the world which go through Mission-Impossible-like schemes to obtain a test bank for an upcoming standardized test. Once they get one, students (or sometimes people hired impersonate the student) study the stolen bank for weeks to ensure they can get a perfect score. At that point, would it not be easier just to study normally?


doptimisticidealist

What if I really did the stuff out of school (talking about the stuff I mentioned on my CA) but my teachers don't actually care enough to read the things I did (even tho I'm sending my CV/resume to them). I'm just afraid if the ignorance of my teachers might make any uni checking up my case to seem fake.


ScholarGrade

Nah no worries. You'll be fine.


edgymemesalt

Steven A. Sussman don't say it


illvstrcte

sussy baka


Luckytiger1990

Our last president cheated on his SAT (and had his sister do his homework for him) and didn’t get his degree revoked despite faculty and students at that institution condemning institution for it. Might as well cheat. If they won’t cancel such a public and important figure, they won’t cancel you. /s


dwaynewayne2019

And this one cheated and plagiarized his way through school and work.


Few_Rooster_4497

Over the summer, I worked as a tutor at a local education center without a work permit so my counselor doesn’t know that I even worked there. Should I even put this as an extracurricular if there’s the possibility of a college asking my counselor to verify this. Or should I note on the application that I worked without a work permit?


SnooMarzipans7154

Eh basically- but the impactful ones that truly would make a difference - aré easily checkable and it is more than possible they would


Pitsuh

The ones you can lie about won’t really help you get in because they’re much smaller (at least for T20s). They’ll probably check most T10 level activities like research, big awards, etc


[deleted]

Well, so are you saying only tippy top activities/awards are all that matter like ISEF/national awards, or else it moves to the story/essays?


Pitsuh

No, but for T20s something amazing is almost required to be admitted


[deleted]

Is your definition of "amazing" ISEF level/national award? If so you are very likely delusional, because THAT is my definition of amazing, and I don't beleive it is nessesary for T20, even for asian males in competitive regions. What level community impact would you consider "amazing". What would you consider amazing????


[deleted]

You are telling me that I need to make ISEF/national award to get into FUCKING UCLA. cmon now.


Pitsuh

I said no


[deleted]

Then what is amazing to you.


pieguy411292176

I disagree actually, how could they verify something like scioly awards?


math_math_meme

They'd Google it https://www.soinc.org/2021-national-tournament


pieguy411292176

If u go to one of those schools i feel itd be way too much of a hassle to verify.


math_math_meme

This is literally their job. Don't lie.


ivybrothers

The ones you're able to lie about won't really affect whether or not you get in. Always be ready to provide proof if asked


authenticfennec

I know for UC schools they make you verify 10% of your application or something like that so it includes ECs. Not 100% sure how it works tho, i just know they do something like that Edit: looked it up, they audit 10% of applicants (chosen randomly) so they have to verify one part of the application, so it would be 1 EC you listed


bigdiccenergii

Someone I know has done ZERO ecs in her whole hs life. The only thing she did was an mun in which she didn't say anything (literally cause that school was also a shit mun organiser ), and registered for some(fake aka teen making an IG page for the sake of it 🤡) ngo which I know she never visited because cOviD but sis went to the mall every weekend she could. Lied her way through the ECs. It makes me so sad and angry that people do that. Not to mention where I live in currently, it's really competitive


SpacerCat

And where did she get into school? Academic honesty is paramount to your application. Get caught in a lie, you’re not getting in and if it’s found out afterwards they can rescind your acceptance. Girl could have started an informal shopping club. Peer advice club. Social media influencer. Those are all legit ECs.


nathani3l0g

lol she was living her best life and still had an opportunity


WorriedTurnip6458

Theoretically your counselor and teachers references should back at least some of it up


RichInPitt

There’s a small chance they will discover it. If they discover it now, you will be rejected. If they discover it later they may kick you out of the school. The larger the lie, to actuall make a difference, the higher they chance they investigate and find it. Your choice on whether it’s worth it.


[deleted]

if u lie on all 15 on your apps, the probability of someone catching is very high. Once someone catches you, they will notify everyone, and everyone will reject you without saying a peep, and you will live out the rest of your life trying to lie your way through stuff, failing.


ResearchSenior8019

Bruh if I did that I wouldn't be able to sleep for the rest of my life 😂


Dry-Comfortable-2042

Terrible idea. Why? Cause even if they don't find out, it will give you imposter syndrome and you will spend your time thinking do I ACTUALLY deserve to be here.


thecoolan

That happens all the time.


KanonJellyfish

idk about american standards of submitting EC’s because in my country, youre obliged to submit certificates of that certain activity. For example, you joined a volunteering act, they will need proof of certificate of participation of the volunteer activity even as a church choir member, you need to get certification that you did become a church choir member for that year. so if u did church choir for 3 years, you need to submit 3 certificates


Giftedwithreddit

I don't think lying about having a small cupcake business would matter to an AO and these are the only lies you would get away with so just don't make up stuff. I think the only lies you would get away with if you exaggerats the ECs you do actually have. Saying you spent more hours in than you actually did or making it seem smarter and more complicated than it actually is.


nathani3l0g

It honestly doesn’t matter if you cheat the system because college is a multi trillion dollar scheme and you should reap the most out of it.


[deleted]

i mean you only have 150 characters..it's not like u can make up a whole ass story?


U_of_SOL

You 100% *can* lie about ec's (as well as pretty much anything else on your app), ***however***, you'll be looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life. While it's unrealistic that a specific ec gets you admitted into X school, it's definitely grounds for expulsion and if found out after graduation, your diploma could get revoked. That being said, most AOs wouldn't even care about your ec's unless it's like a large competition or something really significant. They could call up your counselor and ask if you were in club X and sport Y, but even that's rare.


hereforthelolzhaha

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8bits1bite

I'm concerned about society.


TZ-Bot312

Theoretically, you could, but sometimes they may check


super_pax_

lol I did


[deleted]

Wait until every college you apply to rejects without saying a word. Yeah, that is what happens.