Kind of funny that they use Haverford as the lead anecdote, since the article is called "I Can Get Your Kid into an Ivy."
The Haverford student sounds like a tool, and I'm kind of surprised he would agree to the interview -- since there's no conceivable way it wouldn't make him seem like a complete putz. But he also paid $18,000 just to figure out how to sound gangsta while going to a Swiss boarding school, so maybe his judgment isn't too sound.
"As I listened to my 8th period English teacher drone on for the third time about how Finny, a character in A Separate Peace, was indeed the main character although he was not the narrator, it finally dawned on me that this was not the exciting world of high school that I had hoped for."
This is how Andrew Garza began an essay in his application to Haverford College. It was a 1,200-word piece that established him as an intellectually curious young man. It was crafted to appeal specifically to the admissions officers at the small liberal arts school. And it was the idea of his high-priced college admissions coach, Michele A. Hernandez. Garza attended a private school in Switzerland, and that worried Hernandez: She thought he might appear to be a privileged teenager without much substance. So she advised him to write about why he had left his public high school in suburban New Jersey. "We had to make it seem like he didn't want to be around so many rich kids. We spun a whole story about him taking the initiative to leave in order to broaden his experience," Hernandez says. "It was his initiative. But he wouldn't have written about it."
Today Andrew is a senior at Haverford, studying sociology and economics. His father, John, paid Hernandez $18,000 for 18 months' worth of advice. "It is a lot of money," says Garza, a manager at Abitibi-Consolidated (ABY ) in New York. "But if you look at it as an investment, it's not a bad one."