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timmyt0

Lying on med school applications

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I recently found out that someone made up almost all of the activities in their autobiographical sketch. This included club positions, volunteer experience, work experience, even volunteering overseas, essentially everything. I've lived with this person for a couple of years and I know he doesn't do anything outside of school. I have reason to suspect that these are all corroborated by made up experience letters, phone numbers, email addresses, whatever.

This got me thinking:

1) Do people like these get caught? Please don't say "it'll show in the interviews". There are pathological liars who can talk about completely fictitious events with greater confidence, enthusiasm and detail than most people can talk about things that they've been doing for years. This guy is one of them.

2) What are the repercussions? Do they get permanently blacklisted from Canadian med schools?

3) Is there anything that can be done to report them? I don't have hard evidence but pretty much any amount of scrutiny into their application will make it obvious.

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1 hour ago, timmyt0 said:

I recently found out that someone made up almost all of the activities in their autobiographical sketch. This included club positions, volunteer experience, work experience, even volunteering overseas, essentially everything. I've lived with this person for a couple of years and I know he doesn't do anything outside of school. I have reason to suspect that these are all corroborated by made up experience letters, phone numbers, email addresses, whatever.

This got me thinking:

1) Do people like these get caught? Please don't say "it'll show in the interviews". There are pathological liars who can talk about completely fictitious events with greater confidence, enthusiasm and detail than most people can talk about things that they've been doing for years. This guy is one of them.

2) What are the repercussions? Do they get permanently blacklisted from Canadian med schools?

3) Is there anything that can be done to report them? I don't have hard evidence but pretty much any amount of scrutiny into their application will make it obvious.

Have you tried speaking with him directly about this? I think before you consider reporting, give him the benefit of the doubt and let him explain himself. You really want to clarify this before you jump the gun and report him. Make sure you do this only after you speak with him as you may not know the full story and reporting immediately would be sabotage.

Please also understand that med schools do perform spot checks on your experiences so there is vetting. Robustness varies, obviously. But there are so many screens involved in getting into med school.... CASPer, CV, narratives, MCAT, GPA, MMI, etc. so know that these candidates normally get screened out by consequence of not being competitive in other areas of the admissions process.

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It's not the first time that accusation have been made - in the previous case, I know that UBC does verify everything (but I suppose in theory verifiers could be made up).  I think talking to him is a good idea, but I'd be a little indirect about it - don't really accuse just try to find out more about the things you believe are suspect.  

 

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29 minutes ago, qnzjlo said:

Have you tried speaking with him directly about this? I think before you consider reporting, give him the benefit of the doubt and let him explain himself.

 

6 minutes ago, calcan said:

 I think talking to him is a good idea, but I'd be a little indirect about it - don't really accuse just try to find out more about the things you believe are suspect.  

Well he is pretty open and blatant about the fact that he is lying on the application. This is not something that I figured out by chance or something that I kinda suspect based on small crumbs of evidence. That's not the point of my question. My question is - I know this person is lying. I'm curious about how the system deals with something this. I'm not even "premed" myself.

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31 minutes ago, qnzjlo said:

Have you tried speaking with him directly about this? I think before you consider reporting, give him the benefit of the doubt and let him explain himself. You really want to clarify this before you jump the gun and report him. Make sure you do this only after you speak with him as you may not know the full story and reporting immediately would be sabotage.

Please also understand that med schools do perform spot checks on your experiences so there is vetting. Robustness varies, obviously. But there are so many screens involved in getting into med school.... CASPer, CV, narratives, MCAT, GPA, MMI, etc. so know that these candidates normally get screened out by consequence of not being competitive in other areas of the admissions process.

The spot checks are pretty laughable. 

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If you know for a fact they are lying, and not just inferences and heresay. Collect your evidence and report them.

Anyone with a brain should know that lying on the application is wrong, and shouldnt be going into medicine. We already have enough people who didn't lie, but are still equally as pathological in medicine. 

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4 minutes ago, JohnGrisham said:

If you know for a fact they are lying, and not just inferences and heresay. Collect your evidence and report them.

Anyone with a brain should know that lying on the application is wrong, and shouldnt be going into medicine. We already have enough people who didn't lie, but are still equally as pathological in medicine. 

ditto

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51 minutes ago, JohnGrisham said:

If you know for a fact they are lying, and not just inferences and heresay. Collect your evidence and report them.

Anyone with a brain should know that lying on the application is wrong, and shouldn't be going into medicine. We already have enough people who didn't lie, but are still equally as pathological in medicine. 

I don't have concrete evidence. All I have is memory of him admitting to it and the fact that he asked me to collude with him (which I politely declined). All of that is verbal, though. Anyways, the nature of his lies is extreme. It's not like he put himself as "volunteer leader" when he was actually just a "volunteer", or something trite like that. His lies are to the degree of reporting 12 weeks of volunteering experience in an organization that likely doesn't exist, in a country that he has never been to.

>Anyone with a brain should know that lying on the application is wrong,

What concerns me is the unabashed way in which he's lying on his application and is almost proud of it, as if there are no repercussions at all. It almost seems self-destructive. He isn't a person who's just "applying to med school to see what happens". He models his entire identity around being a doctor, even if it takes him many application cycles. I am concerned with how he will deal with the knowledge that he's blacklisted from all the Canadian schools, regardless of whether I report him or not. I'm also concerned with the fact that someone like him, even if rejected/blacklisted from Canadian schools, might go to International schools and find his way into the Canadian system. 

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16 minutes ago, timmyt0 said:

I don't have concrete evidence. All I have is memory of him admitting to it and the fact that he asked me to collude with him (which I politely declined). All of that is verbal, though. Anyways, the nature of his lies is extreme. It's not like he put himself as "volunteer leader" when he was actually just a "volunteer", or something trite like that. His lies are to the degree of reporting 12 weeks of volunteering experience in an organization that likely doesn't exist, in a country that he has never been to.

>Anyone with a brain should know that lying on the application is wrong,

What concerns me is the unabashed way in which he's lying on his application and is almost proud of it, as if there are no repercussions at all. It almost seems self-destructive. He isn't a person who's just "applying to med school to see what happens". He models his entire identity around being a doctor, even if it takes him many application cycles. I am concerned with how he will deal with the knowledge that he's blacklisted from all the Canadian schools, regardless of whether I report him or not. I'm also concerned with the fact that someone like him, even if rejected/blacklisted from Canadian schools, might go to International schools and find his way into the Canadian system. 

you will run into people like that - good chance at some point they will be tripped up but really no system is perfect and sometimes people get through. 

Not an easy choice to make due to the stress - but I would agree his motivation is not at all important. As much as possible we have to be all in the same game here with no cheating, or what is the point? It is a numbers game - every one that gets in through abuse means one hard working person will not.   

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27 minutes ago, rmorelan said:

you will run into people like that - good chance at some point they will be tripped up but really no system is perfect and sometimes people get through. 

Not an easy choice to make due to the stress - but I would agree his motivation is not at all important. As much as possible we have to be all in the same game here with no cheating, or what is the point? It is a numbers game - every one that gets in through abuse means one hard working person will not.   

The irony is when med schools try to make everything less of a sheer numbers game (i.e. GPA/MCAT), by looking at experiences etc.., these problems can more easily crop up.  

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Just now, calcan said:

The irony is when med schools try to make everything less of a sheer numbers game (i.e. GPA/MCAT), by looking at experiences etc.., these problems can more easily crop up.  

No easy answers. 

We all know that being a good doctor is a lot more than just being smart and having good grades, and that if we want the best people for the job we need to evaluate more (just like for any job really - companies don't hire engineers solely based on their grades in their program, nor does any profession). Yet subjective evaluation systems in any form always take just so darn long to actually do right, and resources are not infinite. 

With GPA you have all the subjectivity associated with various programs - are they all really the same? With the MCAT at least it is standardized but is someone who is excellent at multiple choice always the best person for medicine (a world that exists in a world of grey where there are often no right answers at all)? 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, rmorelan said:

No easy answers. 

We all know that being a good doctor is a lot more than just being smart and having good grades, and that if we want the best people for the job we need to evaluate more (just like for any job really - companies don't hire engineers solely based on their grades in their program, nor does any profession). Yet subjective evaluation systems in any form always take just so darn long to actually do right, and resources are not infinite. 

With GPA you have all the subjectivity associated with various programs - are they all really the same? With the MCAT at least it is standardized but is someone who is excellent at multiple choice always the best person for medicine (a world that exists in a world of grey where there are often no right answers at all)? 

 

 

Great points!

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We've had one of the programs reach out to us (school club, organizing international volunteer experiences) to verify a person who said he was a previous executive, and did all of these amazing things, we never heard of him. Not sure if he'll get caught but it does happen. 

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On ‎2017‎-‎11‎-‎10 at 0:43 PM, JohnGrisham said:

The spot checks are pretty laughable. 

Ya, I remember reviewing files as a med student and hearing some details about the process

The spot checks rarely happen.  I'm sure people who exaggerate slip through.  The only good thing is that most things (GPA, MCAT, interview performance) cant really be lied about/cheated on (like I get that you can lie IN an interview, but that's not my point, the performance would still have to be good).  I don't think "amount/quality of ECs" matters as much as people think.

 

 

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On 11/10/2017 at 11:11 AM, timmyt0 said:

I recently found out that someone made up almost all of the activities in their autobiographical sketch. This included club positions, volunteer experience, work experience, even volunteering overseas, essentially everything. I've lived with this person for a couple of years and I know he doesn't do anything outside of school. I have reason to suspect that these are all corroborated by made up experience letters, phone numbers, email addresses, whatever.

This got me thinking:

1) Do people like these get caught? Please don't say "it'll show in the interviews". There are pathological liars who can talk about completely fictitious events with greater confidence, enthusiasm and detail than most people can talk about things that they've been doing for years. This guy is one of them.

2) What are the repercussions? Do they get permanently blacklisted from Canadian med schools?

3) Is there anything that can be done to report them? I don't have hard evidence but pretty much any amount of scrutiny into their application will make it obvious.

1) There are verification schemes that take some significant effort to fool, so people can be caught on these, even if these verification approaches aren't foolproof.

2) Individuals who are caught falsifying their applications can absolutely get blacklisted, yes. More importantly, individuals who falsify their applications can be kicked out of medical school even after gaining acceptance (without refunds). I can't say for sure that schools share their blacklists with each other, but it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest - and keep in mind medical schools run residency programs too, which would make it very hard for the person to just go the IMG route and come back to Canada.

3) Notify the school(s) they've applied to. Even if you don't have proof it could (should) alert the schools to do a more thorough verification, which could result in them being found out.

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I would start by informing the person that what they are doing is absolutely unacceptable and unethical and that if they submit their application with said lies you will and should feel morally obligated to report them. Do you want someone with this character trait taking care of your family members?

I think if I was in your shoes I would need reasonably substantial proof that they've submitted an honest application if they told you they would be falsifying it to the extent you've described. Even then, I would probably still report it and trust that the system will look into it and act appropriately (ignore your claim if he didn't falsify his application, or take your claim seriously if he did). Contacting individual medical schools might be a lot of work, but a clear professional email with your concerns to OMSAS +/- any OOP you're aware of would be reasonable. 

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7 hours ago, shakeshake said:

I would start by informing the person that what they are doing is absolutely unacceptable and unethical and that if they submit their application with said lies you will and should feel morally obligated to report them. Do you want someone with this character trait taking care of your family members?

I think if I was in your shoes I would need reasonably substantial proof that they've submitted an honest application if they told you they would be falsifying it to the extent you've described. Even then, I would probably still report it and trust that the system will look into it and act appropriately (ignore your claim if he didn't falsify his application, or take your claim seriously if he did). Contacting individual medical schools might be a lot of work, but a clear professional email with your concerns to OMSAS +/- any OOP you're aware of would be reasonable. 

you would never know if they changed their submission would you? I would suggest if you felt that way you really don't have any choice but to report them directly. 

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It's okay if this person is unethical the CASPer test will find them out :-/

I am not sure how thorough the spot checks are around verification are but if this individual has made so much up to this degree there's probably a good chance they will come undone somewhere along the way, although far from guaranteed. It would be a real shame if someone like this was to get in and deny someone a place, and, in the long run, worse still that they end up practicing medicine. I know it might not be easy for you to do something but the most ethical decision is to alert the schools about this individual's actions. Tough situation to find yourself in.

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@timmyt0 As a side note... unprofessional behaviour only becomes harder and harder to maintain ... one facade after another builds up greatly. 

Eventually they'll have to pay, whether in med school or not. 

If you can report the student that's your prerogative but try to focus on yourself as a priority OP... we can only do so much to right the wrongs on our own. 

Best wishes, 

- G

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On 11/25/2017 at 9:07 PM, GH0ST said:

@timmyt0 As a side note... unprofessional behaviour only becomes harder and harder to maintain ... one facade after another builds up greatly. 

Eventually they'll have to pay, whether in med school or not. 

If you can report the student that's your prerogative but try to focus on yourself as a priority OP... we can only do so much to right the wrongs on our own. 

Best wishes, 

- G

Yeh - it's true you have to be able to draw a line between focusing on yourself and your priorities, also you are right it will only get harder as time goes on.

 

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