Truth: Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. 
                                                                        --Webster's Dictionary

The truth.
Seems so hard to come by these days, particularly for those of us who closely follow the political circus in which we are now center ring (enter the clowns in that funny little car).

The truth. Often supplanted by half-truths, untruths, innuendo, misstatements and out and out lies.

The truth. Where facts are ignored, disregarded and rarely fact-checked, cast aside upon the rubbish pile like so many copies of yesterday's newspapers.

The truth. Something that Jack Nicholson once said we can't handle.

If we, as a body politic, as a thinking, reasoning people, as a civilized society choose to overlook the truth -- or worse yet, to abandon it entirely as what passes for truth morphs into the Big Lie (say it long enough and loud enough, and, sooner or later, folks will start to believe it), where does that leave that next Greatest Generation -- our children and our children's children?

And what message are we conveying to students now or soon to be applying to college? 

Just what is -- or shall become -- the "truth" on my college applications?

Is it okay to embellish my activities? Does a single afternoon of volunteer work become, on paper alone, a lifelong commitment to community service?

If grades matter, does a tweak here and a nudge there up the ante?

So what if I didn't write that personal statement myself, or simply made up that detailed experience highlighted in my supplemental essays?

Can't I just finagle my parents' assets -- or my own -- to get a larger financial aid award?

And if I check off YES to the question, Are you Hispanic, though I haven't a drop of Latin blood or ancestry dating back to Queen Isabella, who's to know?

The truth.

Where is the line drawn? When is it crossed? When does an enhancement, an edit, a slight exaggeration become little more than a lie?

Truth is, be it on a resume, in a speech, at an interview, in an essay or on the Common App -- especially on the Common App -- the truth matters.

Facts matter. Integrity matters. Honesty matters. Decency matters. Truth, even when reduced to innocuous short answers or blurbs of 1000 characters (and Tweets of 140), matters.

In an age when it has become all too commonplace to say anything and do anything to gain an advantage -- whether in business, politics or, sadly, in seeking admission to college -- there is a premium on the truth, and a hefty price to be paid for deviating from it.

Do not allow yourself to be caught up in what, unfortunately, appears to have become an American past time -- substituting fiction for fact and passing off the unfounded, the inaccurate or the downright fake as the truth.

To thine own self -- and to college admissions offices everywhere -- be true!

Plan. Prepare. Prevail!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.

Who knows what peril lurks in the college application and admissions process? The College Whisperer knows. . .

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