As high school students mature through their experiences, they realize that the future is coming at them faster than they expected, and it’s not looking pretty. Jobs? Scholarships? Ivy League Universities? The competition for such desirables is now higher than ever, and students are racking their brains for new ideas to impress universities and employers. Students are no longer motivated by their own passions, but instead by what they think is publicly admirable. Instead of starting a club dedicated to Sudoku, you may have joined the more respectable charity club, but ended up contributing nothing towards the club as a member of it, while still taking credit for the club’s events. The passion in the past that drove students to pursue their dreams is no longer a reality, replaced by the lukewarm attitudes of students today.
Nowadays, simply performing well in school is no longer enough. Community involvement is more necessary than ever, and yet often the verification of this involvement is shaky at best. Unlike awards or grades, unique social involvement is not easily quantifiable. How can someone differentiate a student who actively contributes to a club from a student who only occasionally attends meetings? This motivates students to take a lazy approach to social involvement; why actually participate if you can claim that you did so regardless? All too often, students are taking advantage of the lack of reference checks to embellish their applications with overstated accomplishments.
The honour system just isn’t working anymore. With some youth being so outstanding, there is now more motivation than ever before for students to stretch the truth and be dishonest on applications for scholarships, universities, and special programs. After all, the odds of facing the consequences are as rare as finding a needle in a haystack, with so many students lying and getting away scot-free. It’s a vicious cycle of competition that will get out of hand, and something needs to be done.
Unfortunately, it is not as simple as instructing everyone to be fair on their resumes – that would just allow the remaining cheaters to win, and cheaters aren’t supposed to prosper. The real power to solve this problem is in the hands of those who handle these applications for special opportunities. They need to tear down the sense of security applicants have when they act dishonestly by bringing down the hammer on fraudulent applicants, no matter how insignificant their lies are. Wise application reviewers have already stepped up their game, quizzing applicants about knowledge they claim to possess or asking for details about their involvements at interviews. Applicants must be reminded that applications are meant to be an accurate representation of their achievements and accomplishments, and strictly that.
Ultimately, it is up to individuals themselves to take the high road. There are more ways to demonstrate creativity and passion than being deceitful to match the achievements of another person. Instead of being an apathetic participant in causes that you have no interest in, follow your passions. They will motivate you to work hard to demonstrate your true capabilities in a fair, honourable way. You will gain respect for who you are, rather than for a superficial image of yourself that was never a reality.
So the next time you go to claim that you’re involved in five school clubs that you can’t even recall the names of, take a step back. Ask yourself what you can and want to do to build your character and contribute to your community, not what you can pretend to do just to sugar-coat your applications.
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