Not long after Kellyanne Conway’s interview with “Meet the Press” where she cited false claims as “alternative facts,” senior George Wu received the best news of his life: a letter of acceptance to the highly selective Stanford University.
Wu was surprised to hear back from his dream school so soon after he sent in his application. Before applying, he was almost certain he would get rejected from the prestigious institution. “Calling Stanford a reach school for me would be an understatement,” he said. “I didn’t have the grades, the extracurriculars, the test scores—anything, really.”
When reflecting on his application process, he realized that there was only one aspect of his application that could have conceivably earned him a spot at Stanford: his use of alternative facts.
To look more impressive in the eyes of college admissions offices, Wu’s application was comprised entirely of elaborate fibs. He had hoped his blatant lies would look somewhat believable to bleary-eyed admissions officers sitting at a roundtable, but thanks to a new policy implemented by Stanford University allowing the use of alternative facts in college applications, admissions officers did not have to buy Wu’s claims.
“In the spirit of maintaining political neutrality and not acting directly in opposition of President Trump’s agenda, we simply could not disregard his statements as lies. Instead, we had to accept them as alternative facts,” Stanford’s chief admissions officer told the Stuyvesant college office on Thursday. The admissions officer argued that she would have preferred to have seen concrete proof of Wu’s achievements, but with the lack of transparency in the current political climate, proof was no longer a required part of the application.
This is how Wu got away with saying he was an Intel finalist in physics, the president of Stuyvesant Biomedical Engineers, an intern at a prestigious law firm, and proficient in eight languages. He wrote one of his essays about building wells and teaching German in a small Malawian village, and he wrote another about his time conducting research on parasitic organisms in Antarctica.
Wu even found a way to bluff the parts of his application that were out of his hands. “Well, yes, they did see my transcript, but I explained in my forged SSR that one of my peers hacked into the system to sabotage my grades,” he said.
He attached a copy of his self-made alternative transcript to his application, where the overwhelming majority of his grades ranged from 98 to 100. “I did give myself a 94 in Honors Analytic Geometry, though, just to be realistic.”
He fabricated a similar story to explain his SAT and SAT II scores, claiming that the College Board had mistakenly sent the scores of another George Wu.
The news of Wu’s success quickly spread through the halls of Stuyvesant High School, where his peers expressed nothing but shock and in some cases, jealousy. “When I saw all the posts on [Wu’s] Facebook timeline congratulating him, I thought it was a joke. That kid sat next to me in physics. He would cut [class] at least twice a week and his highest test grade was a 60,” a classmate of Wu’s said on Thursday.
Wu, on the other hand, is thankful for his amazing stroke of luck. “Man, I’m just happy I got in. I was afraid that no colleges would buy my alternative facts and that I wouldn’t get in anywhere,” he said.