A big payoff to school choice
Small gems of dopey government policy

The madness of the selective college application process in 2006: don't join the Ping Pong club.

His SAT score is unbalanced, but his work with pancreatic carcinoma is very impressive, his GPA is strong, and he’s a leader at school. However, he seems to be a serial joiner. A red flag is the Ping-Pong club, given the fact that he has little community service.

Think twice about being Asian:

Her perfect SAT score is truly outstanding but not a free ticket. She is applying to many technical colleges, so she will be competing against a lot of other high-achieving math/science kids (and a lot of other Asian students in particular).

And for God's sake, don't participate in a sport your high school discontinues:

There is one red flag, which is that she stopped gymnastics this year. Apparently, her school dropped the program; this should be footnoted on her résumé so she does not appear to be a quitter.