GPA, Personal Essay, SATs ... and Sabotage?

Anonymous smear letters on the rise, say admissions officers
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2008 12:15 PM CDT
Lots of high school seniors want to get into Harvard Yard, but some will stoop lower than others.   (©Andrew Fong)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – With competition for college admissions ever rising, some students are aiming to get ahead by trashing their rivals. Admission officials around the US have reported receiving newspaper clippings, references to Facebook pages, and, in one case, a letter written in crayon pointing out other applicants' false claims or unseemly behavior. Schools tend to react in one of three ways, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The University of Chicago only considers following up on signed letters, trashing any anonymous ones. Harvard typically tosses all letters, though if the accusation is especially serious or comes with supporting information, the school might call the student for clarification. But Notre Dame will check out any allegations that arrive: "You don't want to dismiss" valid complaints, says its director of admissions.