How Some Americans Cheat to Get Into College

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!

P.S. For more information on colleges and universities in the U.S., see our Daily English 1127 – Paying for College and Daily English 1006 – Taking a Campus Tour.

P.P.S. Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) from our Unlimited English membership – SIGN UP BELOW!

Just fill out the form below and we’ll send a FREE lesson to try!

We hate spam, too! We will never sell, rent, or give your information to anyone – ever!

What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
This entry was posted in Life in the United States. Bookmark the permalink.