But check this shit out:
In a profile published in The New York Times earlier this month, Ms. Viswanathan said that while she was in high school, her parents hired Katherine Cohen, founder of IvyWise, a private counseling service, to help with the college application process. After reading some of Ms. Viswanathan’s writing, Ms. Cohen put her in touch with the William Morris Agency, and Ms. Viswanathan eventually signed with Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, an agent there.
Ms. Walsh said that she put Ms. Viswanathan in touch with a book packaging company, 17th Street Productions (now Alloy Entertainment), but that the plot and writing of “Opal” were “1,000 percent hers.”
Getting into the Ivies involves hiring a private counseling service and getting hooked up with a "book packaging" company? Why does that sound a lot like you have to buy your way into these places?
Getting some guidance on the application process makes sense. I hired Kaplan to help me, and for a few hundred bones I got some very valuable insight on my application essays. But there's something, I dunno, suspicious, about a counseling service that can put you in touch with a book packaging company as well as get you into top schools. (Read about what a book packaging service does, here.)
Or, in other words (since I'm feeling muddled and verbose): if someone is hooking you up with a company that's going to give you the plot, the characters, the outline, and the first four chapters of a book, and then pay you a half-a-million-dollar advance to "write" the book even though your writing style is unexceptional, what would you suspect that same person is doing to get you into Harvard? Is there a fill-in-the-blanks process for that, too? I wish someone would have told me about it.
I guess I'm naive.