Survey: 34% of White College Applicants Faked Minority Status

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A new study shows that the college craze over diversity has inspired more than a fair share of white applicants to lie about their ethnic identity when applying.

“Some college applicants are misrepresenting their race in an effort to use their desired school’s diversity efforts to gain admission, or obtain more financial aid,” reported Intelligent.

Asking 1,250 white college applicants ages 16 and older via the survey platform Pollfish, Intelligent found that 34 percent of those surveyed “lied on their application by indicating they were a racial minority.” A majority (81 percent) said they lied to improve their odds of acceptance, while 50 percent claimed they wanted financial aid.

The survey required that each respondent “had to have previously applied to a college or university in the U.S” while advising students to answer truthfully and to the fullest of their knowledge. The survey did not independently verify each claim.

By demographics, white males were “three times as likely than women to lie about their race,” with 48 percent claiming to have lied on their application versus 16 percent of women.

Lying also varies by age groups, with 43 percent of people 35-44 years old, and 41 percent of 16-24 year-olds admitting to faking a racial minority status when applying to college. Those rates are lower for 25-34 year-olds (31 percent); 45-54 year-olds (28 percent), and people 54 and older (13 percent).

Nearly half of all respondents who lied about their minority status (48 percent) identified themselves as Native American on their applications. 13 percent claimed to be Latino, 10 percent claimed to be Black, and 9 percent claimed to be Asian or Pacific Islander.

Twice as many men as women claimed Native American heritage on their applications (54 percent compared to 24 perectn). Meanwhile, one in four women (24 percent) claimed to be Latino. Women are also more than twice as likely as men to pretend to be Black (18 percent compared to 8 percent).

Kristen Scatton, managing editor for Intelligent, speculated that the popularity of applicants claiming Native American heritage most likely stemmed from the notion that “many Americans of European descent have some Native American DNA in their bloodline.”

“For college applicants who are trying to give their application a boost by pretending to be a racial minority, they may seize on this notion that many Americans of European descent have some Native American DNA in their bloodline,” said Scatton. “However, research has shown that’s not all that common, particularly among white Americans.”

The million-dollar question – did the lie actually work? According to those surveyed, yes, with roughly 77 percent claiming to have been accepted to their desired college after lying about their minority status. The study did acknowledge that “other factors may have played a role in their acceptance.” Nonetheless, 85 percent of those surveyed believed that their falsified minority status seriously contributed to their acceptance.

“Lying on a college application about anything, including your race, is never a good idea,” said Scatton. “Colleges can and will rescind admissions offers if they discover students lied during the application process.”

Students lying about their race or ethnicity on college applications entered the national conversation in 2019 during the college admissions scandal, wherein wealthy elites bribed paid more than $25 million to William Rick Singer between 2011 and 2018 to bribe college officials and inflate entrance exams. On top of lying about their extracurricular activities, students were also told to lie about their race, increasing their chances of acceptance.


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