Conning Harvard: Adam Wheeler, the Con Artist Who Faked His Way into the Ivy League

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The inside story of the serial scammer who forged his way into the nation's most prestigious university.
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The inside story of the serial scammer who forged his way into the nation's most prestigious university.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On paper, Adam Wheeler was the ideal student: flawless test scores, glowing recommendations, and pitch-perfect admissions essays. One problem: they were all lies. In this straightforward account, Harvard Crimson managing editor Zauzmer unravels Wheeler’s long con, in which admission to Harvard was just the beginning. A bright but not exceptional Delaware high school student, Wheeler first attended Bowdoin, Maine’s small liberal arts college, and it was on this application that he honed his plagiarism skills, using the work of fellow students. He spent two years there before beginning the transfer process to Harvard in 2007, again forging his admission materials (this time using excerpts from published essays by five Harvard professors), claiming to have graduated from Andover—having taken an unheard-of 16 AP tests—and spent a year at MIT. Just as his Harvard acceptance was confirmed, Bowdoin uncovered Wheeler’s penchant for plagiarism. The lies did not cease once he arrived in Cambridge; his professors praised him as a brilliant writer, not realizing that the papers he turned in were graduate dissertations he found online. Only when Wheeler applied for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships was his trail of deceit discovered, leading to expulsion and criminal charges. Though Zauzmer offers little analysis or perspective on Wheeler’s actions, the bizarre nature of the case is hook enough. Agent: Jeff Herman, Jeff Herman Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
''Conning Harvard proves that what I did over 40 years ago is 4,000 times easier to do today due to technology. Technology breeds crime and makes replicating documents and falsifying paper child's play. This, added with the fact that we live in an extremely unethical society that doesn't teach ethics at home and doesn't teach ethics at school because the teacher would be accused of teaching morality, has brought us today to a country full of Adam Wheelers. For those who are naive, a must read."—Frank W. Abagnale, author of Catch Me If You Can and expert consultant on forgery, embezzlement, and secure documents". . . the bizarre nature of the case is hook enough." --Publishers Weekly Zauzmer's well-researched book is practically a how-to guide for scamming a college admissions process…To report on the extent of Wheeler's fraud, Zauzmer scrutinizes the college admissions system even more carefully than her subject did... --Philadelphia Inquirer The startling revelations about Wheeler's exploits accumulate so quickly in Julie Zauzmer's ripping 'Conning Harvard' that at times this meticulously reported nonfiction narrative reads like a potboiler." -The Washington Post "A handbook for teens on how not to get into Harvard--and, perhaps, a reminder that Harvard isn't infallible." --Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762780020
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/18/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Zauzmer is a Harvard University senior who began covering the Adam Wheeler story for The Harvard Crimson in 2010. She is currently the managing editor of The Crimson.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013



    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013


    *gets under her covers and shuts off her light* goodnight rosen until tomorrow. *goes to sleep*

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Hermes Cabin

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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