To fake or not to fake?

Image from DALL·E.

Disclaimer: Please note that this article is purely for entertainment purposes only, and faking information on your resume is of course never a good idea in the real world. 

Or is it?

Ah, the good old resume. The piece of paper that can make or break your career aspirations. It’s no wonder some people are tempted to jazz it up a bit with some creative writing. But let’s be honest, who needs actual qualifications when you can just “fake it till you make it?” From embellishing extracurricular activities to fudging their academic achievements, lying on college applications has become common. After all, who’s really going to know if you do? But why do students feel the need to lie? What drives them to stretch the truth?  

Some students say that on college applications increasing or “ballparking up” the number of hours they did an activity is normal. Others agree that lying or stretching the truth is perfectly okay. One student said that she wrote on her job application that she was fluent in Spanish when she could only say hello. The reality of lying or exaggerating applications is that the vast majority of embellishments go unnoticed. Other students feel like this goes against morals. “…It’s not good to pretend to be something you’re not. You can learn and be getting better in college or while on the job but I don’t think it is a good idea to lie.” It’s hard to keep track of everyone, and unless the lie is very absurd or obviously exaggerated, nobody is going to know. There are also very few repercussions if you do get caught. 

When filling out college applications, the competition to get into these universities has gotten more intense. With colleges dropping SAT and test scores, the importance of extracurriculars and essays has grown. If you want to be accepted, a mediocre application won’t do the job. “It gives the person a false view of how they might see you. They might think you’re a great person even if you’re actually not.” For some students, lying on their application may be a last resort. They may feel like they have no other options and must do whatever it takes to get into college. Pressure from parents on their children to attend prestigious colleges and universities is another reason. Students may also feel like they need to lie to their parents about their academic achievements to meet their expectations, leading to them lying on applications. 

Back in 2019, some celebrity parents were caught lying on behalf of their children to get them into prestigious colleges. After planning an elaborate scheme, the parents of these students paid people at these nice schools to get them a spot. We all know the reason they did this: the names of schools these days can make someone look really impressive. After news of this scandal got out, many students who were or had applied to those same colleges began to justify lying on their applications. There have been reports of potential other scandals involving rich parents who haven’t gotten caught yet, which almost forces students to lie or embellish their applications in order to have a chance to get in. 

After conducting a survey of WHS students, the data showed that 76% of students believed that lying or exaggerating on their resume or college applications wasn’t okay, while 24% of students either thought it was okay or said it depended on what the lie was. One student said, “Lying is like a slippery slope. The actions of one lie can haunt you the next minute or in the next decade but will still come back to bite you. The problem with a big lie is it requires multiple different lies to keep it alive which will ultimately fall apart like a house of cards. Never lie about something that can decide your future.” As we can see, some students truly believe that it’s not an honorable thing to lie on your application and that it would never lead to anything good. 

However, some students feel differently. Another student said, “In the real world nobody’s going to be fair. You have to do what you have to do to succeed. And it doesn’t mean it has to be ethical.” Maybe that’s what students need to learn to do, since nothing is really ever fair in the real world. We can either promote a healthier culture of honesty and integrity or if all else fails, you can always just become a professional liar and put that on your resume. 

There’s got to be a job out there for that, right? 

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