Friday, January 28, 2022

How college applicants embellish essays with sob stories, fake patents

By Isabel Vincent of The NY Post. Excerpts:

"The story of University of Pennsylvania student Mackenzie Fierceton, who lost a prestigious Rhodes scholarship for allegedly faking details about her background in her application, went viral this week. But many experts told The Post it’s not uncommon for high school students to stretch the truth on their college entrance essays to get noticed by top schools.

Some kids will claim in their essays that they “published” a novel or memoir, when in fact their parents have hired a self-publishing outfit to produce what looks like a legitimate book. Other teens will write about their “meaningful” volunteer work in developing countries, when their moms and dads have funded the trips abroad just so they can have college essay fodder. Now, some students are even going so far as to register their own patents for research they have never completed.

“There are Chinese companies that charge a few thousand dollars and will do all the hard work for your child to register a scientific patent,” an education consultant who did not want to be identified told The Post. “And admissions folks are seeing a lot more of them as competition for schools becomes even more fierce and opportunities for extracurriculars dry up during COVID.”"

"Many professionals who help students prepare the 650-word personal essay component of the Common App, an application used by more than one million students applying to over 800 US colleges, say the most popular essay prompt is how students overcome obstacles in their lives

“Basically, these schools are pushing kids to have a trauma in their life before they’re 17,'” said one Manhattan-based tutor, adding that they have worked with deserving students who have never had huge obstacles in life, and as a result cannot compete for the top schools, such as Yale, Princeton or Harvard."

"even before the pandemic, students would do anything to gain an edge. In 2016, one parent took to social media to complain about a friend of her son who created a charity in her name dedicated to the deaf.

“She registered it, made a website, logo, the works, but hasn’t done ANYTHING with it,” the unidentified parent posted on an online forum set up by College Confidential, an education consulting company for users asking questions about college admissions. The parent went on to say that the student put the charity on her list of extracurricular activities and was accepted to Stanford that year.

As schools increasingly seek diversity on their campuses, white students are fibbing about their ethnicity in order to get an edge, according to a 2021 survey which found that 34 percent of white students admitted to lying about being a racial minority. Of those students, 48 percent admitted to lying about being Native American and 75 percent of those who lied were accepted into the schools of their choice"

Related posts:

Making Money Off of Fake ATM Receipts

People are hiring out their faces to become deepfake-style marketing clones

Why would men bring fake cell phones to bars?

Are sellers paying Amazon customers to delete negative reviews?

Fake Reviews and Inflated Ratings Are Still a Problem for Amazon 

Photos show China's most surreal tourist spot— a fake Instagram-worthy town full of pretend farmers and phony fishermen

The Myth of Authenticity Or The Story Behind Products 

Fake Authenticity

Students: Make a mistake on purpose, its good for you!

A fake job reference can be just a few clicks away.

Fake Economist Fools Portugal.

Slave Redemption in Sudan. (Fake slaves are sold to those who buy slaves and then give them their freedom)

Can A Product Work Just Because It's Expensive?. (fake medicine)

If It Pays To Have Friends, Can You Pay To Have Friends?. (you can hire fake boyfriends)

Study: Half of American Doctors Give Patients Placebos Without Telling Them.

Saudis grapple with fake street sweepers .

Rent a White Guy: Confessions of a fake businessman from Beijing (by Mitch Moxley in The Atlantic Monthly, excerpts below)

Can adding a phantom third story to their homes help families find a wife for their son?

Why do employers pay extra money to people who study a bunch of subjects in college that they don’t actually need you to know? Signaling

Mexicans buy fake cellphones to hand over in muggings
Conspicuous Consumption, Conspicuous Virtue, Thorstein Veblen (and Adam Smith, too!)

How does a company selling used luxury goods spot fakes? (signalling and conspicuous consumption).

Why do stores sometimes pay people to be fake shoppers? 

What if companies can't afford real models for their ads? Use AI generated fake pictures 

Excerpts from "Rent a White Guy"

"Not long ago I was offered work as a quality-control expert with an American company in China I’d never heard of. No experience necessary—which was good, because I had none. I’d be paid $1,000 for a week, put up in a fancy hotel, and wined and dined in Dongying, an industrial city in Shandong province I’d also never heard of. The only requirements were a fair complexion and a suit.

“I call these things ‘White Guy in a Tie’ events,” a Canadian friend of a friend named Jake told me during the recruitment pitch he gave me in Beijing, where I live. “Basically, you put on a suit, shake some hands, and make some money. We’ll be in ‘quality control,’ but nobody’s gonna be doing any quality control. You in?”

I was.

And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here. One friend, an American who works in film, was paid to represent a Canadian company and give a speech espousing a low-carbon future. Another was flown to Shanghai to act as a seasonal-gifts buyer. Recruiting fake businessmen is one way to create the image—particularly, the image of connection—that Chinese companies crave. My Chinese-language tutor, at first aghast about how much we were getting paid, put it this way: “Having foreigners in nice suits gives the company face.”

Six of us met at the Beijing airport, where Jake briefed us on the details. We were supposedly representing a California-based company that was building a facility in Dongying. Our responsibilities would include making daily trips to the construction site, attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and hobnobbing. During the ceremony, one of us would have to give a speech as the company’s director. That duty fell to my friend Ernie, who, in his late 30s, was the oldest of our group. His business cards had already been made."

"For the next few days, we sat in the office swatting flies and reading magazines, purportedly high-level employees of a U.S. company that, I later discovered, didn’t really exist."