Maybe it doesn't take perfect SATs and thousands of extracurriculars. According to the New York Post, Esther Elizabeth Reed, 28, proved that all it took to get into Columbia was a name-specifically, someone else's name.
While the details are still murky, and many officials are unwilling to discuss the ongoing criminal investigation, the Post published two articles quoting police officials and the father of a former boyfriend stating that Reed attended the school of General Studies for two years under the name of Brooke Henson.
While Curtis Rodgers, dean of admissions at GS, wouldn't confirm whether the allegations were true, he did confirm that an investigation is underway.
"Any student applying to the University has to adhere to the standards of the admissions process," he said.
The University also issued an official statement that confirmed that a student did attend Columbia under that name, but the statement did not give any more information due to the federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
According to the Post, both Reed and the real Henson have been missing since 1999. It said that Reed had used Henson's name since 2004.
"Reed's an incredibly smart and sophisticated con woman," investigator Jon Campbell of the Travelers Rest police told the Post. Campbell has been on the Reed case since 1999. "She's an excellent impostor to the point of being pathological," he said.
The article also quoted Campbell as saying that Columbia had not been helpful in the investigation.
"They got caught with their pants down on this one, and they seem to be very embarrassed by it," he said. "And they should be, because they really aided her in this whole thing. They didn't check anything."
Rodgers said the school was cooperating with investigations and that the school was also reviewing the situation on its own end.