Sunday, October 17, 2010

Now you can buy copies of successful college applications

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a new business venture aimed at applicants to selective colleges. For Sale: Successful Ivy League Applications—Only $19.99  By Eric Hoover

"The path to the nation’s most selective colleges is crowded with entrepreneurs—independent consultants, test-preparation companies, and publishers of a zillion guides. They peddle information and insight, along with strategies for unlocking coveted gates. Recently, Howard Yaruss decided to join them.

"Mr. Yaruss is the founder of the Application Project Inc., which sells copies of successful applications to Ivy League colleges. Want to browse applications submitted by 21 members of Brown University’s 2009-10 freshman class? You can buy access to them for $19.99 on the company’s Web site, For the same price, you can see applications filed by 14 members of the 2009-10 freshman class at Columbia University. Or you can buy both sets for $34.99.

"It’s all in the name of transparency, says Mr. Yaruss, who touts his new service a way to show students what successful applications look like—and what admissions officers look for when they evaluate them. Seeing how accepted applicants presented themselves, he says, can help high-school students, especially those who lack affluence, college savvy, and knowledgeable counselors.

“It’s the one remaining part of the process that’s shrouded in mystery,” Mr. Yaruss says. “Students spend thousands of dollars preparing for the SAT. We’re offering this for the cost of a trade paperback.”
"Alice Kleeman, a college counselor at Menlo-Atherton High School, in California, calls the service “revolting.” She suspects that the site might cause students to think they have no chance if they happen to lack the academic records, personal experiences, and writing abilities of students who were accepted.

"Ms. Kleeman also thinks there’s a high likelihood of abuse. “Even if students have the integrity not to simply lift responses from these apps, the site could also have the potential of causing students to believe they should submit something just like these apps, rather than their own authentic app,” Ms. Kleeman says. “I would hate to see my students spending money for something like this.”

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