Tag Archives: harvard

How To Lie Your Way into Harvard

Adam Wheeler is a criminal, but many believe he’s also at least part genius. After all, he successfully duped Harvard University for three years and won himself several meaty scholarships and prizes during his time there. According to court documents, Wheeler was enrolled at Harvard in 2007 after lying on his application about several key points in his life, including prior schools attended and test scores.

How To Lie Your Way into Harvard
Adam first attended Bowdoin College in Maine, but was suspended in early 2007 for academic dishonesty. He then decided to apply to Harvard. On his application, he claimed to have been a student at MIT for the year prior with perfect grades. He forged a transcript with letter grades on it, even though MIT uses a number grading system. How the admissions team at Harvard missed this one, I’m not quite sure. Wheeler also claimed to have scored a perfect 1600 on his SAT test. He actually scored around 1200. Again, the copy of the test score was faked and no one caught on.

While a student at the Ivy League school, Wheeler joined the Kirkland House and received a Hoopes Award for an English project he had done. This award is considered to be one of the highest honors an undergraduate can receive, and is given for outstanding scholarly work or research by students. The problem here is that Adam has been caught lying, cheating and plagiarizing many documents and papers. A team of 80 professors chose him as the recipient of this award. I’m assuming they checked thoroughly to make certain he had not stolen any of the content for this project.

Adam was caught only when he prepared to try his hand at both a Rhodes and a Fulbright… two of the most prestigious awards one can receive. James Simpson, a Harvard professor helping to go over these applications, noticed that there were “similarities between Wheeler’s work and that of another professor during the application review process for the Rhodes Scholarship. The professor then compared the two pieces and voiced concerns that Wheeler plagiarized nearly the entire piece.” Upon investigating, all of Wheeler’s other transgressions came to light.

Adam was dismissed from Harvard in October, but didn’t let that stop him. In January of this year, the precious young man submitted applications to both Yale and Brown. He claims to have been employed by McLean Hospital, a psychiatric facility affiliated with Harvard and provides recommendations from a hospital employee and a Harvard dean. According to authorities, both the statement and the recommendations are phony.

Wheeler is currently being held by Cambridge police pending his arraignment this morning at Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. He is charged with four counts of larceny over $250, eight counts of identity fraud, seven counts of falsifying an endorsement or approval, and pretending to hold a degree. “I was just knocked silly by this,’’ said one Harvard professor, speaking on condition of anonymity, who likened Wheeler’s fabrications to a scenario from the film ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley.’ “There’s something that’s pathological there. And it’s something that seems to me that needs care and clinical treatment, rather than incarceration.’’

I still am baffled as to how this young man managed to get as far as he did. I understand that the transcripts and letters of recommendation were all on proper letterheads from the various schools and institutions. However, little things slipped through the cracks that should not have, including the incorrect grading system found on his supposed MIT transcript. I’m not saying that Wheeler is blameless. In fact, I tend to agree with the professor quoted in the above paragraph. This kid may need some type of therapy far more than he needs to be locked up.

At the end of the day, though, I do feel that the school should also take a good, hard look at their admissions process. There needs to be more fact-checking. In this day and age of identity theft and crime, schools need to have tighter selection and verification processes than ever before.

What is There to Do in Boston?

It’s been awhile since we last wrote about travel tips, as sent in by our community members. We asked months ago for you to send us the top ten places to visit in your hometown. So many of you responded that we are STILL trying to get them all posted! Today we’re going to talk about Boston. We may end up with more than ten things to do, since three of you sent in your ideas. Thanks to Mike, Robert and Charmain for letting us know what great things there are to do in Boston, Massachusetts!

  • USS Constitution – Better known as Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution was a prominent ship during the War of 1812. Tour the ship or visit the museum, which is full of over 150 interactive displays.
  • Harvard Walking Tour – After taking this tour, you’ll be able to say you’ve been to Harvard! Tour the famous campus with a student leader, and learn of its history and prestige.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Campus Tour – Regularly scheduled student-led campus tours are conducted Monday through Friday at 11:00 AM and at 3:00 PM.
  • Institute of Contemporary Art – For more than a half century, the ICA has presented contemporary art in all media – visual arts, film, and video, performance and literature – and created educational programs that encourage an appreciation for contemporary culture.
  • Bunker Hill Monument – In this first major battle of the American Revolution, the outnumbered American militia flew a red, white, and blue flag bearing the pine tree emblem of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Today, you’ll find a 221-foot granite obelisk marking the site of the famous battle.
  • Fenway Park – Fenway is the home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. It’s a gorgeous stadium, and one that you’ll enjoy visiting… even if you’re not a baseball fan!
  • New England Aquarium – Founded in 1969, the New England Aquarium is a global leader in ocean exploration and marine conservation. The Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston, with over 1.3 million visitors a year, and a major public education resource.
  • The Public Garden – The Public Garden was created in 1837, Boston Common in 1634. What a difference two centuries made. From its inception, the Public Garden was decorative and flowery, the Common pastoral and practical. The Common’s walkways were for crosstown travel, the Public Garden’s paths for meandering. The Common was America’s first park, the Public Garden its first public botanical garden.
  • Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum – This is a comprehensive museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting the legacy of the single most important event leading up to the American Revolution. It is scheduled to re-open in the summer of 2010 (after renovations are complete), and will undoubtedly be a huge hit.
  • Boston Children’s Museum – The Boston Children’s Museum exists to help children understand and enjoy the world in which they live. As an early museum experience for children, the environment is informal, but the purpose is serious. The exhibits are geared towards children ages 2 – 10.
  • Boston National Historical Park – The Boston National Historical Park is an association of sites that showcase Boston’s role in the American Revolution. It was designated a national park on October 1, 1974. Seven of the eight sites are connected by the Freedom Trail, a walking tour of downtown Boston.
  • Boston Duck Tours – You’ve never toured Boston in anything that comes close to Boston Duck Tours. The fun begins as soon as you board your “DUCK”, a W.W. II style amphibious landing vehicle. First, you’ll be greeted by one of our legendary ConDUCKtors, who’ll be narrating your tour. Then you’re off on a journey like you’ve never had before.
  • Arnold Arboretum – The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest public arboretum in North America and one of the world’s leading centers for the study of plants. It is a unique blend of respected research institution and beloved public landscape.
  • Whale Watching Cruise from Boston Harbor – Boston Harbor Cruise’s Whale Watching cruise is both an unforgettable and educational experience. The guides, who are researchers from the Whale Center of New England, will teach you about everything from whale behavior and migration patterns to the local ecology. You’ll also be able to get amazing photographs of the area – and the whales!
  • Franklin Park Zoo – Franklin Park Zoo is a 72-acre site nestled in Boston’s historic Franklin Park, long considered the “crown jewel” of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace Park System. You’ll find hundreds of exhibits, and enjoy hours’ worth of fun.

It sounds as though there is no shortage of fun – and educational – things to do around Boston! There seems to literally be something for everyone!