A Korean high school student nicknamed the “Genius Girl”–because she purportedly was accepted to several Ivy League colleges and offered a two-year “duel-enrollment opportunity” for Harvard and Stanford–turned out to be a hoax, the Washington Post reported last month.
The Washington Post explained:
“In breathless coverage in the Korean media, the student was hailed as the “Genius Girl,” who made her parents immensely proud by gaining acceptance and scholarships at two of the best schools in the country. According to Korean reports, she had Harvard and Stanford professors fighting for her to enroll. Several news outlets reported that Zuckerberg called her to persuade her to choose Harvard, which he attended for two years. A spokesman for Zuckerberg declined to comment.”
International news outlets were all duped by the teen student from Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Gawker-owned Kotaku blog pointed to South Korean news site Chosun, which unpublished its article on the student. The article’s link re-directs to the Chosun homepage, iMediaEthics notes.
The Post reported:
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“The senior’s tale of academic conquest of admission into what turned out to be a bogus program apparently was designed to impress her parents, peers and teachers as part of the annual cutthroat competition for the relatively tiny number of spots at the nation’s top schools. The faked admission story went much further than most teen fantasies: It made its way to the international media, where the student’s parents admitted the truth and publicly shamed themselves before the Korean community.”
The girl’s father apologized in a statement to Korean news agency Yonhap “for causing trouble with what is not true.” Both Stanford and Harvard universities told the Washington Post the admissions letters were fakes and that there is no such duel enrollment program.
The Washington Post didn’t name the teenager “because she is a minor who has not been accused of a crime.”