This week Cherwell revealed that LMH had admitted a student with a fabricated set of qualifications and entirely fictitious personal statement. But we’re all at it, a straw poll of students and Cherwell staff shows.
Duke of Edinburgh awards, unread books and dropped ‘B’-grades featured heavily on our Oxford application forms and CVs for jobs and internships – if not to the extent of 13 imaginary A-Levels.
A tutor commented: “It is suprisingly common for candidates to come up blank when asked even the most general questions about a book which they have professed to have read and enjoyed.”
One student said that the biggest lie he had put down on his application form was to “pretend I had any interest in my subject.” Another confessed that he had put down a Duke of Edinburgh award, despite having never taken part in the programme.
Other than Oxford applications, students admitted to lying on or exaggerating their CVs for professional work. A Magdalen undergraduate said that he had an advanced medical qualification to work as a lifeguard, while an anonymous member of Cherwell staff confessed he had claimed to be a CNN journalist to land a job on a paper, when he had only ever worked as an intern at the organisation.
News reporters admitted that on University qualifications they had “bigged up the number of books I’d read”, “put down more books and then flicked through them before interviews,” and “read books in English translations when I said I’d read them in the original foreign language”.
Another current undergraduate said they were put off from lying in their personal statement, after the example of their brother – who had falsely claimed to have read Ulysees, but was then quizzed on the novel in his interview and was not offered a place.
A national survey late last year found that ten percent of Oxford educated students went on to lie on their CV after University. However, the number of Oxford graduates found lying was shown to be far fewer than alumni of other universities – with 24.8% of job candidates from universities or colleges outside the top 100 admitting to lying on their applications.
A separate survey showed that state school students are more likely to lie than their privately-educated counterparts.