As college admissions become ever more competitive, with the most elite schools admitting only 4 percent or 5 percent of applicants, the pressure to exaggerate, embellish, lie and cheat on college applications has intensified, admissions officials say. The high-stakes process remains largely based on trust: 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.
How about we stop making it heartwarming that people basically have to beg in public for everything now? A good education, a way to get to and from work, cancer treatment, meds for a sick baby or grandmother, these are all occasions for these “sweet” stories in which people donate because they’re moved by the personal circumstances, which means people have to strip their sleeves and show their scars in public.
Should we take into account people’s life experiences? Absolutely. But there’s something vaguely gross about having to have a dead mom (or talk about the dead mom you have) in order to gain college admission. It’s gross that this kid did this, of course, because there are actual orphans and, you know, incredibly talented and overlooked students generally, out there applying too.
It’s grosser that this is considered an effective strategy. It’s not okay to substitute that kind of pressure to self-exposure for a social safety net and a society in general that protects everyone and gives everyone a chance to succeed. Without them having to “prove” anything, dead mom or no.