The application essay from a student in China sounded much like thousands of others sent each year to the University of Washington at Seattle.
“ ‘I did this,’ ” admissions officer Kim Lovaas remembers the essay saying, and, “ ‘I did that.’ ” Then she came to a phrase that stopped her short: “Insert girl’s name here.”
“I thought, ‘Did I just read that?’ ” said Lovaas, associate director for international student enrollment, admissions, and services. “To me, that was a really big red flag.”
The obvious clue in the essay was an indicator of a serious problem that’s not always so easy to detect: fraudulent applications from Chinese students seeking to get into U.S. colleges and universities.