Moral dilemma about law school application


Hello everyone.

I am interested in getting peoples’ opinions on a moral dilemma that I am currently being faced with. I realize that, ultimately, the best advice would come from a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but I am still interested in hearing what other people have to say about this…

I was unexpectedly accepted into a prestigious law school with test scores that I believed were too low to gain me admission. My honest conviction is that what put my application over the top at this particular school was the fact that my school has a good reputation with the law school and the school had confidence that I would do well despite my test scores. In fact, in the past the school visited my undergraduate school, and I met with an admissions representative from the school. I included the encounter between the admissions rep. and me in my personal statement to the law school, and I believe the rep. remembered me when I sent my application to the school.

HERE IS THE POTENTIAL PROBLEM: As I looked back on the resume that I submitted with the application, I realize in retrospect that I embellished a bit in the number of hours per week I disclosed to have worked in two or three of my extracurricular activities. For instance, as president of the student government, I listed that I worked 10 hours per week, when in actuality, I only work closer to 5 if you average all of the hours that I’ve worked over the number of weeks, though I have worked more than 10 hours per week at times. The same goes for the other extracurricular that I listed, which I listed as 5 when it was likely more like 3 or 4.

Looking back, I realized that I sort of rushed the resume. I was not really acting with the intention of deceiving the law school into accepting an otherwise unqualified candidate. I knew ultimately that if anything was likely prevent my acceptance, it would be my lower test score. Nevertheless, I wanted to make my being student government president appear as impressive as possible and knew that I was giving myself the benefit of the doubt, even if I did not intend to outright lie to the school. I sort of arbitrarily put “10” which was roughly twice the number I worked when I was a Senator in the student government. As the semester has progressed, I realize that I work less than 10 hours per week.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have written that I work from 3-10+ hours per week instead of putting 10 hours per week. But the fact is that I have been accepted to the school, and I badly desire to attend it.

I sit here and honestly assert that I do not believe that my resume blunder affected the decision of my application significantly enough to make or break the acceptance. There were other extracurriculars listed on the resume accurately, a strong personal statement, good grades, decent test score, a chat with an admissions official, and the reputation of my undergraduate institution – all working to my advantage.

Typically, extracurriculars play a very minimal role in accepting or denying a student. The test scores and grades account for at least 90% of the application. Usually, a student will not be admitted with lower test scores unless he has a significant feature on his application that distinguishes it from other peoples’. I honestly do not believe that adding a few extra hours per week falsely made my application “distinguished.” Rather, I firmly believe that my school’s reputation did.

Nevertheless, I will never have absolute certainty that my resume error did not put me over the top. I believe that I have good reason to believe that it did not, but not 100% crystal clear evidence. I guess that I can never be certain that I was legitimately accepted despite the blunder.

Attending this law school can have life-changing ramifications. This law school will open doors that other law schools could not possibly do, etc.

SO MY QUESTION IS: If you were in my position, would you enroll in the prestigious law school, or would you enroll in a lesser-ranked school, accepting that, while fewer doors would be opened, you would have the peace of mind that there was nothing wrong with the application? Would it be permissible to enroll in the prestigious law school, in light of everything that I have mentioned?

Personally, I have prayed about this numerous times, and I believe that it would be licit to enroll in the school for the reasons that I have mentioned. But I am interested in hearing what other people might have to say about this. Thank you so much in advance, and God bless you!


They are well aware that people embellish their resumes. In fact when you go to law school, you will learn how to embellish your resume so that employers hire you. There is a BIG difference between embellishing hours in student and let's say--making up the fact that you were in student government to begin with. Go the law school.


The "discrepancy" between what you reported and what you say you actually worked is not a significant factor. The school looks for an overall picture of what you are all about. They look at your major, grades, activities, work history, references, etc, to gain insight as to whether you are the kind of person who would be a good fit with their school. The actual number of hours is not going to be what contributed to you gaining admission there, it was the fact that you were involved, and furthermore, had a leadership role.

You legitimately earned your admission to this school. Don't sell yourself short. Accept the admission and work hard to achieve success there, and don't forget to give glory and thanks to God for your blessings.

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