A lot of what we did is write Common Apps and sort out how we were going to make these students look good. The tough part was that this sometimes involved fabricating activities, or for lack of a better word, “passions.”
The fact of the matter is that these kids don’t have passions, so they are trying to do what others did with the test scores and buy their way in. Trying to fake passion is hard. It’s upsetting that people would pay good money rather than trying to cultivate it themselves.
For instance, there was a kid who ran a 5K for a hospital that was near the school he wanted to go to—a very elite school. I spun that to say he was involved in volunteering at that hospital. They really don’t check that kind of stuff, as long as it’s somewhat believable.