Lately, prominent journals have been putting its spotlight on international students — specifically Chinese international students — due to their committing frauds in applying to U.S. colleges. Essentially, these international students would take one of two routes (or both) in committing fraud:
1. Pay tens of thousands of dollars for a fraud service that sends out falsified high school transcripts, fake letter of recommendations, and forged personal essays to colleges. Oftentimes, the fraud service would even provide fake interviews for their customers.
2. Also, pay thousands of dollars and have a test scammer take the SAT and the TOEFL tests under the customer’s name, and let the exam shine as the sole reason of acceptance.
Surprisingly, these students have had lots of success with the scam industry since decades past; a significant amount of its customers have actually been accepted to numerous public and private U.S. colleges, such as U.C. Davis, Virginia Tech, USC, NYU, and Georgia Tech. In fact, Forbes referred to a 2010 report that found 90 percent of all recommendation letters for Chinese international applicants to U.S. universities are fake, 70 percent of application essays are not written by the student, and 50 percent of grade transcripts are counterfeit. The report also found 80 percent of Chinese applicants to American undergraduate programs are aided by agents, most of which do not use ethical practices.
The reason behind the successes of the Chinese application scamming industry is due to an ever-increasing pressure on Chinese students from their super-competitive parents to attend a college in the U.S. Also, with the recent announcement of a 7-year jail punishment for Chinese students caught cheating on its national university-entrance exam, gaokao, many international students are turning towards phony college applications to institutions in the United States.
In the midst of all of this, I’ve recently read about the backlash of numerous residents upon realizing that their public universities are accepting more non-resident students each year. By the term “non-resident,” they are referring mainly to the incoming students from other states within the country. The residents are upset that their tax money goes to the education of students who do not even reside within the state. Some are also angered over the fact that their children are denied acceptance because non-residents (who are supposedly as qualified as their children) have taken the spots at the institution.
And yes, that’s a completely valid argument. But to angry-resident parents and students, let me offer a thought: instead of demanding public institutions to lower their standards to admit your state-resident child, wouldn’t it be better to propose that institutions thoroughly examine and prevent falling into the trap of these rigged college-application systems to your public universities? One can make the argument that the spot taken by an international student who cheated their way in could very well be your child’s.Touchy subject, I know. Regardless, don’t blame the U.S. non-residents — most of these students applied to colleges under the same process that a state resident student would, and they got accepted because they truly deserved the admittance. Without a doubt, though, blame goes to those who cheated the system.