New Site Lets High School Students Purchase Successful Applications

Thanks to a new website, high school seniors (or juniors -- or sophomores or, in more and more cases, freshmen) can try to increase their chances of getting into a highly selective institution by reading the applications of admitted 2009-2010 students.

At We Got In, a prospective student can download 21 successful applications to Brown University or 14 to Columbia University for $19.99. For $34.99, those interested can download all 35 applications.

Application packages include full responses to each question but do not list the personal information of each applicant. Howard Yaruss, founder of the Application Project Inc., the group behind the website, told the Chronicle of Higher Education that application packages are collected directly from admitted students in exchange for a stipend of up to $100. Although he has only connected with freshmen at Brown and Columbia, he plans on being in touch with students from all of the Ivies, as well as MIT, by 2011.

Although Yaruss considers the $19.99 price tag a bargain, there is no doubt that his site is cashing in on the college admissions industry, which has fully come into being in the last decade. High school students and their parents can hire professionals to prep them for tests, polish their applications, and divulge secrets of the admission process -- according to Inside Higher Ed, one study showed that, in 2009, close to 26 percent of "high-achieving" students sought advice from private college advisors.

College counselor Alice Kleeman told the Chronicle that Yuress might be crossing a line: "Even if students have the integrity not to simply lift responses from these apps, the site could also have the potential of causing students to believe they should submit something just like these apps, rather than their own authentic app."

She concluded, "I would hate to see my students spending money for something like this."

What do you think? Would you shell out money for the applications? Let us know below.

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