5 Things NOT to Do When Applying to College

Categories: Admissions Advice

Who knows? Maybe Adam Wheeler would’ve cemented himself into an Ivy Leave legend had he actually been able to skate through a Harvard education without getting caught for committing student fraud.

Wheeler was kicked out of Harvard in 2009 when authorities discovered that he had fabricated most of the transfer application that earned him acceptance to Harvard and $50,000 in scholarships. He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail and 10 years on probation for identity fraud and other charges. You think Wheeler would’ve learned his lesson, but, he hasn’t quite yet.

Wheeler’s missteps are unfortunate for the name of higher education, but that doesn’t mean we can’t squeeze some lesson juice out of this. So here are 5 things you should NOT do when you’re applying to college:

1. Cheat on the SAT or ACT
From what we know, Wheeler didn’t cheat on the SAT or ACT, but six students were recently arrested last September for hiring a greedy brainiac to take the tests for them. Let me just note here that colleges do not like cheaters.

2. Fake your transcripts
Try to avoid tampering with your transcript. And by ‘try’, we mean ‘don’t ever’ tamper with your transcript. It reads less “straight A’s” and more “criminal”.

3. Tell admissions you went to a school that you didn’t
Here’s a good one that everyone should know–if only someone had told Wheeler. Do not put schools on your applications that you did not actually go to. Sure, maybe Wheeler got a little confused amid all the applications he was filling out.

So here’s a way to double check if the schools you put on your application were actually schools you attended: Just ask yourself, “Did I go here?” If the answer is ‘Yes’, then keep it on. If the answer is ‘No’, then you need to read directions better.

4. Go to jail for committing student fraud
This one’s hard to avoid if you’re committing student fraud. So the easiest way to avoid this is to just not lie on your transcript and application.

5. Violate your probation by citing a university on your resume that you did not actually attend
This is a tricky one. Maybe that’s why Wheeler wasn’t able to follow it. But basically, if you get in trouble for committing student fraud, and the judge–you know, the important person with the gavel–tells you that the one thing you cannot do while on probation is lie again about your education, then you should listen. That means do not put the university you were expelled from for student fraud on your job resume.

These tips are not too hard to follow. If you want your application to look better, work harder. Leave a comment below.

Original Post Date: November 10th, 2011

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