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An Idiot’s Guide to Bribing and Cheating Your Way Into College

Like any modern parent, I believe that my children are geniuses—but, hey, who knows. At the moment, my son’s passion is melting crayons all over the living room radiator. His sister tells me that when she grows up, she wants to be a unicorn. They’re truly delightful kids, and may indeed wind up changing the world. It’s also possible they’re not Ivy League material.

The last bit is no shame. I’ve never been Ivy League material myself. But this week, I learned that if I want my kids to go to an elite university—or even a not-so-elite...