Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

Money is tight and truth be told, you won’t be to afford your dream school without several scholarships. However, it seems most scholarships are directed towards either students who are highly achieved with a less than perfect GPA or students who have overcome a large obstacle in their lifetime. Let’s face it, you may be neither of those. You could be what is also known as: “an average student,” and unfortunately there are very few scholarships in that category. With that said, it could be tempting to exaggerate achievements on your scholarship applications. Maybe add a few extracurricular activities you’ve never participated in? How about writing a story on that mission trip you never went on, right? No. “Exaggerating” is a sugar coated version of lying, and it’s never okay.

Let me refresh you of the year 2008, when a transfer student was caught lying to admissions officers about his achievements. According to New York Times, Akash Maharaj claimed to have earned straight A’s at his years in Columbia University while he wanted to transfer to Yale. Yale accepted him and offered him a $32,000 scholarship. In addition, he had received $15,000 in federal scholarships and loans. Later the information on his application was found to be false by Yale admissions. He was then arrested and faced charges in Connecticut of larceny and forgery. As he did not earn straight A’s at his time in Columbia, a Columbia recommendation was forged, as well as one Columbia transcript. Before Columbia University, Askash had attended NYU.

If that story hasn’t caught your attention, I’ve gathered the top three reasons as to why you shouldn’t lie or exaggerate on ANY application.

Taking Away From Others

Just don’t think about yourself. Schools and scholarship foundations only have enough money to give to a limited amount of students. If you, with a dishonest application, were awarded scholarship money over several other students who were honest, you’d be taking away scholarship money from students who probably need the funds and who worked hard to accomplish their achievements.

Don’t Commit the Crime if You Can’t Do the Time

When it comes to scholarship or college applications, lying is taken very seriously. According to the Voice of America website, Kara Jo Humphrey, an admission counselor at Truman University quoted, “If an outright lie is detected, the student has already agreed through signing the application for admission that they accept the grounds for dismissal from the institution and the inability to participate in any and all other privileges that go along with attendance. Other consequences may bar them from ever applying/being accepted to attend the school at a later date.” In other words, if you’re caught lying, the school has the right to expel you from the university or worse. You now have a permanent label attached to your name and record as “the student who lied on their application.” It may be difficult for you to make a comeback in the college scene.

Guilty Thoughts and Self-Esteem 

This one is self-explanatory. However, if you have any inner conscious whatsoever, the guilt from the whole situation will bite you in the butt. If you’re lying, odds are you already have a low self-esteem. Why would you need to lie about your accomplishments if you’re proud of what you’ve already achieved? According to, psychologist Robert Feldman believes that levels self esteem and lying are closely related. Feldman quotes, “We find that as soon as people start to feel that their self-esteem is being threatened, they immediately begin to lie at higher levels.” It was also found that the greater the gap between how you want to be perceived verses how you are actually perceived in society affects your rate of lying. If you find yourself trapped in this sticky situation, in the end it’s always best to come clean.

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the author

Katlyn Tolly is a freshman at Columbia College Chicago studying journalism and marketing. When she is not writing articles or studying for classes, Katlyn spends her time reading fiction novels, obsessing over the latest fashion trends, and making DYI projects she finds on Pinterest. You can find more of her craziness on her twitter page @katlyn_tolly

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