Honesty Best Policy for College Applications


Mia Jay

“Affirmative action” is ostensibly a way for colleges to favor minority students in their acceptance policies.

So, it is no surprise that some students will exaggerate the significance of their race or ethnicity in their application essays.

According to Anemona Hartocillis of the New York Times, the high-stakes and lack of accountability make exaggerating or flat out lying a real problem in the college admission game: “Very little is done in the way of fact-checking, and on the few occasions officials do catch outright lies, they often do so by chance.”

Those who fib about the impact of their race in order to gain college entry will no doubt continue cheating their way through life beyond their college experience.

Sophomore Eshna Sarkar said, “If you just do that to get into college and you don’t relate to any of the culture or traditions, and you are just doing that to get into a school, then you are totally abusing that power and you are disrespecting that race or minority group.”

There are many people disadvantaged by their race or ethnicity that would be a valuable addition to any campus. It would be unfair to these people were colleges to ignore race or any other unique circumstances that define an individual.

“I don’t really think that you can stop the lies about race on college essays, only reduce it. It’s going to take time,” said Sarkar.

Perhaps one way to combat this unfortunate practice is to remind students of the lingering guilt they are likely to feel in the future as they benefit from their false claims.

At the end of the day, cheating one’s way into a school will lead to a haunted existence, but ethical behavior has to come from internal motivation.

Leaving home and going off to school is the start of adult life, and part of becoming an adult is listening to your moral compass and making the right choices. College acceptance should be based on the truths of a person’s character as much as on their academic performance.