Question: I recently learned that the local library where I volunteer received a call from a college admission official to verify that I really do work there. Is this a common practice? I also did other volunteer work several years ago. I'm worried that, if colleges follow up on that, no one will remember me. I was honest on my applications but I am still concerned that I might seem otherwise, if some organizations don't keep records of volunteer service. I have already been accepted by UCLA and one other very selective college. Might they reverse my decision if they find discrepancies? Also, I was suspended for fighting as a sophomore. Do you think this is why colleges are checking up on me?

I always knew that colleges do occasionally check up on student application claims, but usually only when they spot a "red flag" that suggests the information is fabricated or inflated. For instance, if a candidate lists "Student Government President" on her résumé but her teacher recommendation describes her as "pathologically shy," then a follow-up phone call from an admission officer is probably in order. (That's actually a call I made myself in my application-reading days. It turned out that the student in question really was the student gov prez, but, when writing her recommendation, the teacher had confused her with a quiet classmate with a similar name!)

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