The Importance of Honesty in College Admissions and Life

In college admissions and in life, it’s always important to be honest. We’d say that goes without saying but, hey, the recent college admissions scandal involving the bribery of college athletic coaches and cheating on standardized testing has shined a bright lantern on people who clearly didn’t understand the importance of honesty. Maybe they were absent that day in kindergarten when the importance of honesty was the key takeaway. Or maybe they just didn’t care. Well, they do now.

At Ivy Coach, we find ourselves honest to a fault. But — just as we tell our students — we believe in showing rather than telling so let’s offer some examples.

We’re honest to a fault when a student with ‘C’ grades hopes to earn admission to Harvard. We’ll tell this student and her parents that she doesn’t have a shot of getting into Harvard on God’s green earth. She might be upset. Her parents might be upset. Maybe they’ll really want to stick it to us. But that upset, in our experience, will pass; it’s more important we let the student and her parents know the cold hard truth.

We’re honest to a fault when a super annoying, demanding, know-it-all parent says they wish to sign up for our services during a free consultation. Or if they ask for a guarantee. We’ll tell them the purpose of the free consultation is as much for us to gauge if we’re the right fit as it is for the prospective client to gauge the fit. And then we’ll let them know we don’t feel it’s a good fit and wish them all the best.

We’re honest to a fault when a parent wants to submit three supplemental letters of recommendation from world leaders. We’ll ask them, “Who are you trying to impress?”

We’re honest to a fault when a student attempts to lie on a college application, like including an honor the student did not in fact receive. If our suspicions are aroused, we’ll ask them point blank if they really did earn that honor. If they say they didn’t, we might very possibly fly off the handle: “What on earth were you thinking? Take that off immediately!”

May students and parents heed the lessons of this recent college admissions scandal. While they shouldn’t have needed this scandal to understand the importance of truthfulness, maybe it can be a positive takeaway for all. As college applicants and parents read about the students who have been dismissed by our nation’s elite universities because of their association with this bribery and cheating scandal, may they remind themselves of the importance of being honest — in college admissions and in life.


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