Getting into (being admitted as a student) to the best American universities can be difficult.
Your application (information about you) is very important, and often includes one or more essays (short pieces of writing) in addition to test scores and high school grades.
Since it is so difficult, a few parents pay professionals to help their child write their college application.
Of course, universities assume (believe) that the application is done by the 17- or 18-year-old student, not a professional counselor (advisor)!
These paid counselors tell students how to package themselves (how to present themselves) to universities.
The cost of this help? Around $4000, according to one estimate.
This is cheating, of course. To cheat means to get something unfairly by not following the rules.
Elite (the best, top) universities are very competitive (difficult to get into), so some parents believe they need to do almost anything they can to help their child.
Last year, it was discovered that several parents, including some celebrities (famous people) bribed (give money to get something illegal in return) university officials to get their son or daughter into college.
This happened at a number of famous universities, including the University of Southern California, where some parents paid up to $500,000 to get a child admitted.*
One of the problems is that many parents believe they must get their child into one of the Top 20 universities, when in fact the U.S. has thousands of good quality colleges that offer a similar education.
Personally, I think it is a little insane (crazy, absurd).
And while a few colleges have thousands of applicants (students applying there), many more have to advertise (put ads online or in newspapers) to get students.
Colleges will often use slick sales pitches to get students to go there.
Slick means very professional, but really too professional, something that tries to be more than it really is.
“Slick” is usually a negative way of describing something or someone.
If you say a person is “slick,” you are saying that he is somewhat dishonest, trying to be something he isn’t.
A sales pitch is an attempt to get someone to buy your product. It is a set of reasons or arguments for something you are selling.
A slick sales pitch is, then, a somewhat dishonest attempt to “sell” students on the university in order that they be admitted as a student.
* When I got my Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, I did not pay anywhere close to that amount. Those cheaters really got cheated!
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