Applying to college can be stressful. Applying to a college that isn't real can be even more stressful. If you've heard of the University of Redwood, then unfortunately, you know what I'm talking about.
The University of Redwood doesn't exist. It has a website, but there is no faculty, no campus, no ... nothing. If this sounds familiar, you're thinking of that movie Accepted with Justin Long that came out in 2006, and kudos to you for remembering that awesome flick. While the two circumstances are similar, the plot lines vary in that real kids applied to this fake college and were scammed out of money. No pool, no keggers, and no happy ending in this real-life drama.
The perps, or tech wizards, who made up the University of Redwood website stole most of their content for the site from a real place of higher learning, Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
They copied Reed's list of faculty members and bios, Reed's story on the college's history, and every photo of Reed College they could get their hands on. Then the perps targeted applicants from Asia and Hong Kong, encouraged them to apply online by paying a fee, then sent them rejection letters 8 weeks later, reports the Wall Street Journal.
I don't know what's worse, getting a rejection letter from a real college or a fake one. Both are bad. A rejection from a real place means you weren't smart enough, and a rejection from a fake place means you weren't smart enough to realize you're applying to a school that doesn't exist. Ouch.
The perps are still at large, but the domain name was registered in China. So be extra careful in your higher ed search in the next few months.
I feel bad for those students who were scammed, but now I'm kinda worried about my pending grad school applications to Tolumbia Tuniveristy and Poston Pollege. How will they ever accept me now that my University of Redwood degree is worthless? (Removes University of Redwood degree from wall, splits in two over knee.)
What's your take on this Internet scam?
Photo via Paul Lowry/Flickr