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What are some high school summer programs that high schoolers should apply to?

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.~ B. B. KingTeenagers often face the dilemma of choosing their career path. But, their problem doesn’t end here. They then face the problem of competition. There a considerable amount of competition in every field.For high school students, summer is a great time to engage themselves in various activities, do internships, learn new things, improve their skills, and of course, boost their chances of getting into top colleges.Summer programs might help you earn college credit or use a course to place into a higher level in college or high school. You might also develop a close relationship with your instructor, who may be willing to write you a recommendation letter for college. You’ll also gain first-hand experience at what college life is like, which may make transitioning to college easier when the time comes.There are numerous summer programs but I’m going to tell you about some of the best ones:#1 Henry Harvin Teen MBAThe Teen MBA Program aims to help you in your voyage of career discovery. The program will not only help you understand the business world, but will also help to develop the critical skills required to make money work for you. It’s a two-phase program.They offer various programs such as:Marketing Specialisation (CEO + CMO)Finance Specialisation (CEO + CFO)Technology Specialisation (CEO + CTO)Dual Specialisation (CEO + Any 2 Specialisations)All Rounder (CEO + All 3 Specialisations)COST- The price ranges from INR 4,999/- to 7,999.DURATION- 3 weeksDURATION PER CLASS- 1.5 hrs - 2 hrs.For more details, visit the Henry Harvin Teen MBA website.#2 Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP)The TASP is an educational experience for high school juniors that offers challenges and rewards rarely encountered in secondary school or even college. Each program is designed to bring together young people from around the world who share a passion for learning.Each session is focused around an academic seminar (sample topic: Feminist Philosophies of Space, Time, and Evolution: Untimely Politics) and prioritizes group discussion, writing, reading, and self-governance.COST- FreeDURATION- 6 weeksLOCATION- Various college campuses across the United States (2020 locations are: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; University of Maryland, College Park, MD; and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI)#3 Research in Science and Engineering Program (RISE)RISE is a program for rising seniors that consists of two tracks: Practicum and Internship. Internship students conduct individual research projects in a university lab under the guidance of a mentor, while practicum students collaborate on group neurobiology research in a structured environment overseen by an instructor. RISE is selective, accepting around 16 per cent of applicants.COST- $7,700 residential; $5,000 commuter (financial aid available)DURATION- 6 weeksLOCATION- Boston University, Boston, MA#4 Stanford University Mathematics Summer Camp (SUMaC)SUMaC is a program for sophomores and juniors consisting of lectures, a guided research project, and group problem-solving. Focused on pure mathematics, SUMaC students choose one of the two-course topics, both of which delve into mathematics topics from historical and contemporary research perspectives.COST- $7,000 (financial aid available)DURATION- 4 weeksLOCATION- Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA#5 Leadership in the Business World (LBW)LBW offers current sophomores and juniors an introduction to business through classes with Wharton professors and visiting business leaders, as well as visits to company offices and team-building exercises. A highlight of the program is the opportunity for participants to create and present their own business plan to a group of venture capitalists and business professionals. Approximately 160 students attend LBW each summer.COST- $7,500 (financial aid available)DURATION- 4 weeksLOCATION- The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA#6 Princeton Summer Journalism Program (PSJP)PSJP is a program for talented current juniors from low-income households. During PSJP, students attend workshops and lectures, tour leading news outlets, cover real events, and conduct investigations in preparation for the creation of their own newspaper, which is published on the last day of the program. Participants also get the benefit of college counselling with PSJP staff after they return home. PSJPS is competitive, accepting 40 students each year.COST- FreeDURATION- 10 daysLOCATION- Princeton University, Princeton, NJConclusion:Attending a pre-college summer program can be a fantastic experience for a high schooler, as long as the program is challenging, within your family’s financial means, and not counted on as a backdoor into a prestigious college.If you are interested in attending a summer program, be sure to research the program’s quality and choose a subject that’s in line with your interests and specialisations.

Can people identify books by their opening line?

Yes, indeed they can. Many novels have “famous first lines”.If I were to hear, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”, I would know immediately it was the first line in - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens or if I were to hear, “"When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets," Papa would say, "she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing." I would know it is the first line in one of my favorite novels - Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. There are many more as you can see from the list below. This is just a sampling as literature is rife with memorable first lines.Here is a list from American Book Review which gives a list of 100 famous first lines:100 Best First Lines from Novels1. Call me Ishmael. —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)2. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune , must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)3. A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow (1973)4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. —Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. —Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita (1955)6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. —Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)7. riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. —James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939)8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. —George Orwell, 1984 (1949)9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)10. I am an invisible man. —Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)11. The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard. —Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts (1933)12. You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. —Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)13. Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested. —Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925; trans. Breon Mitchell)14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. —Italo Calvino, If on a winter's night a traveler (1979; trans. William Weaver)15. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)16. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. —J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (1951)17. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo. —James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)18. This is the saddest story I have ever heard. —Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (1915)19. I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost:—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me. —Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy (1759–1767)20. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. —Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)21. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. —James Joyce, Ulysses (1922)22. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. —Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)23. One summer afternoon Mrs. Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary. —Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)24. It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not. —Paul Auster, City of Glass (1985)25. Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. —William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929)26. 124 was spiteful. —Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)27. Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. —Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote (1605; trans. Edith Grossman)28. Mother died today. —Albert Camus, The Stranger (1942; trans. Stuart Gilbert)29. Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu. —Ha Jin, Waiting (1999)30. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel . —William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)31. I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man. —Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground (1864; trans. Michael R. Katz)32. Where now? Who now? When now? —Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable (1953; trans. Patrick Bowles)33. Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. "Stop!" cried the groaning old man at last, "Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree." —Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans (1925)34. In a sense, I am Jacob Horner. —John Barth, The End of the Road (1958)35. It was like so, but wasn't. —Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2 (1995)36. —Money . . . in a voice that rustled. —William Gaddis, J R (1975)37. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. —Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925)38. All this happened, more or less. —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)39. They shoot the white girl first. —Toni Morrison, Paradise (1998)40. For a long time, I went to bed early. —Marcel Proust, Swann's Way (1913; trans. Lydia Davis)41. The moment one learns English, complications set in. —Felipe Alfau, Chromos (1990)42. Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature. —Anita Brookner, The Debut (1981)43. I was the shadow of the waxwing slain / By the false azure in the windowpane ; —Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire (1962)44. Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. —Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937)45. I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story. —Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome (1911)46. Ages ago, Alex, Allen and Alva arrived at Antibes, and Alva allowing all, allowing anyone, against Alex's admonition, against Allen's angry assertion: another African amusement . . . anyhow, as all argued, an awesome African army assembled and arduously advanced against an African anthill, assiduously annihilating ant after ant, and afterward, Alex astonishingly accuses Albert as also accepting Africa's antipodal ant annexation. —Walter Abish, Alphabetical Africa (1974)47. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)48. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. —Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (1952)49. It was the day my grandmother exploded. —Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)50. I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. —Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex (2002)51. Elmer Gantry was drunk. —Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry (1927)52. We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall. —Louise Erdrich, Tracks (1988)53. It was a pleasure to burn. —Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1953)54. A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead. —Graham Greene, The End of the Affair (1951)55. Having placed in my mouth sufficient bread for three minutes' chewing, I withdrew my powers of sensual perception and retired into the privacy of my mind, my eyes and face assuming a vacant and preoccupied expression. —Flann O'Brien, At Swim-Two-Birds (1939)56. I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho' not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull; He got a good Estate by Merchandise, and leaving off his Trade, lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my Mother, whose Relations were named Robinson, a very good Family in that Country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but by the usual Corruption of Words in England, we are now called, nay we call our selves, and write our Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call'd me. —Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)57. In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street. —David Markson, Wittgenstein's Mistress (1988)58. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. —George Eliot, Middlemarch (1872)59. It was love at first sight. —Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961)60. What if this young woman, who writes such bad poems, in competition with her husband, whose poems are equally bad, should stretch her remarkably long and well-made legs out before you, so that her skirt slips up to the tops of her stockings? —Gilbert Sorrentino, Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things (1971)61. I have never begun a novel with more misgiving. —W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge (1944)62. Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. —Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups (2001)63. The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. —G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)64. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. —F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925)65. You better not never tell nobody but God. —Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982)66. "To be born again," sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, "first you have to die." —Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988)67. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York. —Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963)68. Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden. —David Foster Wallace, The Broom of the System (1987)69. If I am out of my mind, it's all right with me, thought Moses Herzog. —Saul Bellow, Herzog (1964)70. Francis Marion Tarwater's uncle had been dead for only half a day when the boy got too drunk to finish digging his grave and a Negro named Buford Munson, who had come to get a jug filled, had to finish it and drag the body from the breakfast table where it was still sitting and bury it in a decent and Christian way, with the sign of its Saviour at the head of the grave and enough dirt on top to keep the dogs from digging it up. —Flannery O'Connor, The Violent Bear it Away (1960)71. Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there's a peephole in the door, and my keeper's eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me. —GŸnter Grass, The Tin Drum (1959; trans. Ralph Manheim)72. When Dick Gibson was a little boy he was not Dick Gibson. —Stanley Elkin, The Dick Gibson Show (1971)73. Hiram Clegg, together with his wife Emma and four friends of the faith from Randolph Junction, were summoned by the Spirit and Mrs. Clara Collins, widow of the beloved Nazarene preacher Ely Collins, to West Condon on the weekend of the eighteenth and nineteenth of April, there to await the End of the World. —Robert Coover, The Origin of the Brunists (1966)74. She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably, and there were moments at which she showed herself, in the glass over the mantel, a face positively pale with the irritation that had brought her to the point of going away without sight of him. —Henry James, The Wings of the Dove (1902)75. In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. —Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (1929)76. "Take my camel, dear," said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass. —Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond (1956)77. He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull. —Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (1900)78. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. —L. P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1953)79. On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen. —Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker (1980)80. Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law. —William Gaddis, A Frolic of His Own (1994)81. Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash. —J. G. Ballard, Crash (1973)82. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. —Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle (1948)83. "When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets," Papa would say, "she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing." —Katherine Dunn, Geek Love (1983)84. In the last years of the Seventeenth Century there was to be found among the fops and fools of the London coffee-houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke, more ambitious than talented, and yet more talented than prudent, who, like his friends-in-folly, all of whom were supposed to be educating at Oxford or Cambridge, had found the sound of Mother English more fun to game with than her sense to labor over, and so rather than applying himself to the pains of scholarship, had learned the knack of versifying, and ground out quires of couplets after the fashion of the day, afroth with Joves and Jupiters, aclang with jarring rhymes, and string-taut with similes stretched to the snapping-point. —John Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor (1960)85. When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon. —James Crumley, The Last Good Kiss (1978)86. It was just noon that Sunday morning when the sheriff reached the jail with Lucas Beauchamp though the whole town (the whole county too for that matter) had known since the night before that Lucas had killed a white man. —William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust (1948)87. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as "Claudius the Idiot," or "That Claudius," or "Claudius the Stammerer," or "Clau-Clau-Claudius" or at best as "Poor Uncle Claudius," am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the "golden predicament" from which I have never since become disentangled. —Robert Graves, I, Claudius (1934)88. Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I've come to learn, is women. —Charles Johnson, Middle Passage (1990)89. I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent. —Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March (1953)90. The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods. —Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt (1922)91. I will tell you in a few words who I am: lover of the hummingbird that darts to the flower beyond the rotted sill where my feet are propped; lover of bright needlepoint and the bright stitching fingers of humorless old ladies bent to their sweet and infamous designs; lover of parasols made from the same puffy stuff as a young girl's underdrawers; still lover of that small naval boat which somehow survived the distressing years of my life between her decks or in her pilothouse; and also lover of poor dear black Sonny, my mess boy, fellow victim and confidant, and of my wife and child. But most of all, lover of my harmless and sanguine self. —John Hawkes, Second Skin (1964)92. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. —Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)93. Psychics can see the color of time it's blue. —Ronald Sukenick, Blown Away (1986)94. In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together. —Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940)95. Once upon a time two or three weeks ago, a rather stubborn and determined middle-aged man decided to record for posterity, exactly as it happened, word by word and step by step, the story of another man for indeed what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal, a somewhat paranoiac fellow unmarried, unattached, and quite irresponsible, who had decided to lock himself in a room a furnished room with a private bath, cooking facilities, a bed, a table, and at least one chair, in New York City, for a year 365 days to be precise, to write the story of another person—a shy young man about of 19 years old—who, after the war the Second World War, had come to America the land of opportunities from France under the sponsorship of his uncle—a journalist, fluent in five languages—who himself had come to America from Europe Poland it seems, though this was not clearly established sometime during the war after a series of rather gruesome adventures, and who, at the end of the war, wrote to the father his cousin by marriage of the young man whom he considered as a nephew, curious to know if he the father and his family had survived the German occupation, and indeed was deeply saddened to learn, in a letter from the young man—a long and touching letter written in English, not by the young man, however, who did not know a damn word of English, but by a good friend of his who had studied English in school—that his parents both his father and mother and his two sisters one older and the other younger than he had been deported they were Jewish to a German concentration camp Auschwitz probably and never returned, no doubt having been exterminated deliberately X * X * X * X, and that, therefore, the young man who was now an orphan, a displaced person, who, during the war, had managed to escape deportation by working very hard on a farm in Southern France, would be happy and grateful to be given the opportunity to come to America that great country he had heard so much about and yet knew so little about to start a new life, possibly go to school, learn a trade, and become a good, loyal citizen. —Raymond Federman, Double or Nothing (1971)96. Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space. —Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye (1988)97. He—for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it—was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters. —Virginia Woolf, Orlando (1928)98. High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour. —David Lodge, Changing Places (1975)99. They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did. —Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)100. The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting. —Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895)Here is another good list of some of the best first lines (some books are listed above and here and others are new to this post)… Enjoy!10 Books That Hooked Us at the Very First SentenceBy Rebecca ShapiroEveryone knows that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But no one said anything about the first line. In fact, we think that the first line of a book is often the most revealing. When done right, it should tantalize, intrigue and tell you something fundamental about the pages to follow. Here are ten of the very best.PENGUIN CLASSICS“ANNA KARENINA” BY LEO TOLSTOY“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”The first line to Tolstoy’s epic tragedy is famous for good reason: It’s full of wisdom, and it lets readers know that they’re in for some serious family drama. And what’s better than family drama (as long as it's not your own)?MARINER BOOKS“THE COLOR PURPLE” BY ALICE WALKER“You better not tell nobody but God.”Celie, the narrator of Alice Walker’s masterpiece, is a poor, uneducated black girl living in the South in the 1930s. She tells her secrets to God, because she has no one else. Here, in just a few words, we get a taste of Celie’s strong voice and her terrible heartbreak.BROADWAY BOOKS“THE MARTIAN” BY ANDY WEIR“I’m pretty much fucked.”If you saw the movie, you already know that astronaut Mark Watney is a pretty funny guy, even when he’s been abandoned on Mars. There’s plenty of tension (and math) in Andy Weir’s novel, but we love it as much for the warm humor, which is evident from the very first line.PICADOR“MIDDLESEX” BY JEFFREY EUGENIDES“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”The first line to Eugenides’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a textbook example of efficient writing. In a single sentence, he manages to set up the novel’s oh-so-intriguing premise (ICYMI, the book is about a hermaphrodite), as well as the time period and place.CREATESPACE“MOBY DICK” BY HERMAN MELVILLE“Call me Ishmael.”And call us predictable. It’s probably the most famous first line in literary history. We included it because it’s got panache. Novels at the time were not exactly into succinct sentences (see: all of Dickens) and Moby Dick continues with some equally flowery prose pretty quickly. But with this short, mysterious declaration, Melville shows that he knows how to make an entrance.VINTAGE“THE SECRET HISTORY” BY DONNA TARTT“The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we understood the gravity of our situation.”OK, who is Bunny and why is he dead? We’re only one line in and we have an almost physical need to keep reading. Donna Tartt’s addictive debut, about an obsessive clique embroiled in a murder mystery, hits the ground running (and with gorgeous prose, to boot).PENGUIN BOOKS“PRIDE AND PREJUDICE” BY JANE AUSTEN“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”Another oft-quoted oldie-but-goodie. Jane Austen’s first line gets us right in the thick of the complicated world of 19th-century social life, and introduces us right away to her slightly cheeky tone.VINTAGE“LOLITA” BY VLADIMIR NABOKOV“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.”We never thought that the (fictional) jailhouse memoir of a creepy pedophile would end up being one our of favorite books of all time. But damn, the man can write.ANCHOR“A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD” BY JENNIFER EGAN“It began in the usual way, in the bathroom of the Lassimo Hotel.”We love the idea of anything beginning “in the usual way” in a hotel bathroom. The first line of Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of linked stories is, like the rest of the book, quirky and totally unique.HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT“THE HANDMAID’S TALE” BY MARGARET ATWOOD“We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.”Though the first line of Margaret Atwood’s dystopia is simple, there’s an undeniably ominous tone, and it raises many more questions than it answers—an ideal start to a terrifying, mind-bending

‘But you don’t like to read. Why do you want to go to Harvard?’

'But you don't like to read. Why do you want to go to Harvard?'(This story is from Fortune Magazine.)Daniel Grayson thought there was probably something fishy about the kid who said his childhood friend died from a procedure in a back-alley abortion clinic in Bangkok. Grayson, an associate director of admissions at Tufts University who recruits students and reviews applications from Southeast Asia, had been warned about too-good-to-be-true applications from Thailand. This one, from a student who claimed to have been so inspired by his friend's plight that he made a documentary on illegal abortion and promoted it with great success on the Internet, got him wondering. Grayson emailed the applicant, a senior at a Thai international school, asking to see the film. He heard back several weeks later from the student, who sent a link to a video posted to YouTube the day before by another person. The "documentary" -- a three-minute reel of stock photo images accompanied by a student reading a bland script on abortion -- looked hastily thrown together.Tufts denied the applicant. In fact, during the 2013 admissions season, Grayson threw out a quarter of the applications from Thailand for suspected cheating. The applicants, he says, had offered impressive stories of enterprising (but fictitious) extracurricular projects, like the student who said he had invented an elephant motion detector to help protect agricultural fields in rural Thailand.Padding college applications is virtually as old as higher education itself; for all we know Nostradamus may have overstated his powers of prophecy to secure a spot at the University of Avignon. But many undergraduate and graduate officials say that in recent years there's been a spike in problematic submissions, especially from emerging markets, where the families of the elite and the growing middle class are eager to ensure their children's success with degrees from top U.S. schools. And they are enlisting the aid of a growing professional class of consultants and fixers who will not only help a student navigate the complexities of the American college system but in many cases buff and polish a candidate's application beyond recognition.In the most extreme cases, students and parents turn to savvy and unethical admissions consultants who excel at packaging students for U.S. audiences; for a pretty price, consultants will happily write essays and recommendations, fabricate student backstories, and coach applicants through enough interviews that the lies stick. "There do seem to be countries where getting unwarranted 'help' isn't considered cheating as much as it is seen as a necessary way of doing business," says Therese Overton, an associate dean of admission at Wesleyan University. "As the stakes rise and more people are apprised of the possibilities, it does appear the problem is getting worse."Then there are students, particularly in China and increasingly in India, outsourcing their applications to commissioned agents who are paid a bounty for every international student they get into an American school, a system that encourages recruiters to gussy up and enroll as many students as possible. (In a bizarre double standard, colleges are barred from paying agents to enlist U.S. students partly to prevent unscrupulous colleges from scamming the financial aid system.)That's not to say that every candidate from an emerging market is dishonest or that schools should turn their backs on the benefits of diversifying their campuses with kids from developing economies; bad actors represent just a fraction of the millions of applications that U.S. schools review each year. But admissions fraud isn't a victimless crime: Ill-prepared students find themselves overwhelmed at school, and universities are stuck with underperformers they need to bring up to speed. And in an increasingly competitive process, cheaters take seats away from deserving students -- American and international applicants alike -- while gaining access to the ranks of the global elite.You'd think university administrators would be outraged by such attacks on the integrity of the admissions process, but few schools are willing to talk about dirty applications. Fortune contacted the undergraduate admissions offices of all eight Ivy League universities; Harvard provided a prepared statement, and only Dartmouth College's dean of admissions discussed the matter on the record. (She says detecting fraud makes reviewing international applications "more challenging.") The few rank-and-file admissions officers who are vocal on the matter suggest that schools may not want to expose flaws in a closely guarded system they take pains to portray as fair, while others, in all seriousness, fret that being too suspicious of applicants violates the "spirit" and "essential connection" of the admissions process. Privately, though, many suggest that university leaders simply don't want to shut down a pipeline that helps schools stay in business and boosts their college rankings: Under financial pressure from federal and state budget cuts, falling tuition revenue, and mounting operational costs, many colleges have come to rely on income from international students, who typically pay full freight. The 820,000 foreigners currently pursuing degrees at U.S. schools represent just 4% of total students (at elite institutions the number trends toward 10%), but their ranks have swelled from 586,000 a decade ago. "It's a money business for most schools," says Bruce Poch, a longtime admissions dean at Pomona College who became the dean of admission and executive director of college counseling at the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif., last year. "It's not about finding needy kids. It's about finding kids who can pay."As college acceptance letters start to land in mailboxes around the world, inevitably a few of those fat envelopes are bestowed on students who are unqualified, unethical -- or both. "We want to believe -- we want to think that students applying to our school are cool enough, smart enough, dynamic enough to do this -- and we're lucky enough to admit them," Tufts' Grayson told a crowd of college counselors and admissions officers at an industry conference last year. "It plays to our hubris." Indeed. The applicant Grayson denied, the one with the amateurish documentary? Fortune has learned that he's now a freshman at a prestigious East Coast university.Susitt "Sai" Thanarat is the founder of Bangkok's oldest and most expensive admissions consulting firm, Admissions-Office (AO). Modeled after "the ancient Socratic school of Athens" and operated out of the 18th floor of an office tower in central Bangkok, AO sells itself as "Asia's premier educational consultancy." And AO touts winning results, citing 1,100 Ivy League acceptances to date -- among them 88 at Cornell, 39 at Harvard, 65 at Columbia, and 125 at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. (Acceptances at elite non-Ivies are impressive too: 214 at Duke, 107 at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, and 103 at MIT's Sloan School of Management.) A 2010 advertisement claims that 90% of AO clients are admitted to their top-choice school, and a recent AO offer from daily-deal site Groupon advertises that its clients received 75 million baht ($2.3 million) in scholarships in 2012 alone. But like many of Thanarat's claims, AO's acceptance rates are probably exaggerated, along with Thanarat's own credentials and those of a number of the students his firm ushers into top-tier U.S. schools. According to several former employees and clients, all of whom requested anonymity, Thanarat is running the equivalent of a high-priced applications mill, churning out remarkable résumés, pristine essays, and perfect packaging for students, some of whom needn't lift a finger. Thanarat, who spoke to Fortune via phone several times, denies any wrongdoing.A cherub-faced, bespectacled 38-year-old, Thanarat's pedigree gives him credibility with Thai families seeking his help. The grandson of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, who staged two coups before becoming the country's Prime Minister, a position he held until his death in 1963, Thanarat attended top private schools -- the International School of Bangkok (former Treasury secretary Tim Geithner's alma mater) and the Pomfret School in Connecticut -- and received a merit-based Bank of Thailand scholarship to attend Stanford. There he studied economics and international relations and was a member of the polo club. He graduated in 1998 at the height of the tech bubble -- alongside future tech stars like YouTube's Salar Kamangar -- and returned to Bangkok to begin his career as an analyst at the Bank of Thailand, the country's Federal Reserve equivalent.He soon realized he had other assets: Being a Stanford graduate made his advice highly prized among Thais aspiring to an elite U.S. education. He founded AO, inspired in part, he says, by the dedication of his own prep school guidance counselor. Though Thanarat would not share his rates -- he says that it depends on the client and that he charges a lump sum (the more work, the higher the price tag) -- sources say that fees can be as high as 500,000 to 1 million baht ($15,000 to $30,000). Thanarat says he does not agree to help everyone; he is selective about clients in order to protect his consultancy's exclusivity. He also does business with top public schools and large Thai companies, like energy giant PTT and Siam Cement Group, where he advises on human resource matters, including business school programs for current employees. Neither company responded to requests for comment.In the first of several phone conversations with Fortune, Thanarat described private admissions counseling in Thailand as the "Wild West," but vowed that AO maintains the highest ethical standards, including the "two obvious givens" of the profession: that essays be true and written by the applicants themselves. The company's website also emphasizes that point in bold and underlined type.But according to six former staffers, two of whom let Fortune review what they say are fabricated and ghostwritten documents from their time at the company, AO consultants ignored the company's policy and fabricated compelling profiles, often from a small kernel of truth, like the fact that a family hailed from a rural province or that the applicant liked to swim. In essay-writing sessions, the students would sometimes be in the room, but rarely engaged. A few ex-staffers recall students sleeping and fiddling with their cellphones.Thanarat himself, with a colleague, would lead "brand strategy sessions" for each student. One ex-employee described Thanarat as energized by this creative process, at times joking as he mused about new stories they could try. Typically such strategizing would result in sensational -- and given the well-heeled clientele, quite ludicrous -- stories of Thai hardship or novelty that would be sexy to a Western admissions officer who didn't know better. Thanarat insists that the student-clients participate in AO's strategy meetings and that his jocularity was taken out of context by newbies to the firm. "We make fun of all sorts of people internally," Thanarat tells Fortune. "It may have been an oversight to do it with junior-level staff around."Even qualified candidates, such as those seeking graduate school admissions, often had their applications and essays written or rewritten for them. And once the firm got a student into a college, AO would sometimes continue to provide ex-clients with ghostwritten homework and papers to help them get through their classes. In a later interview with Fortune, Thanarat acknowledged that some unethical behavior -- ghostwriting essays for applications, for example -- may have occurred at AO at the hands of rogue counseling staff, whom he has since fired. He acknowledges that they got clients into U.S. schools but denies that he personally took part in or encouraged dishonesty on applications.Lately, though, some U.S. schools are starting to suspect AO of unsavory tactics. Stanford's Graduate School of Business and MIT's Sloan School of Management each rescinded an invitation to a Thai student last year after discovering the student had misrepresented himself on his application and then tried to cover it up. Both schools linked the student's application (but not necessarily his misrepresentation) to Thanarat's services. Thanarat denies he worked with the student.Stanford's business school also discovered that AO took credit for the admission of two Stanford students who had never been AO clients. And the school hears from Thai applicants who are under the impression that Thanarat is a channel of influence at the business school. As a result, the institution now monitors its informational events in Thailand to make sure Thanarat is not in attendance, and it has informed large companies like PTT that they do not need to work through him for access.Thanarat has further disenchanted his alma mater by claiming for years on his website, in news stories, and in at least one advertisement that he or colleagues worked in admissions at Stanford University and other prestigious schools. Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin says that is not true. "We have had repeated issues with Susitt Thanarat misrepresenting his connections to Stanford and his credentials and using Stanford's name in connection with his business without permission," she says.Thanarat chalks up the various Stanford concerns to misunderstandings. He says AO has tried to clear up confusion about his ties to Stanford. As for the students AO inaccurately claimed to have gotten into the business school, Thanarat explains that those young people used an affiliate test-prep company whose website is linked to AO's, and that somehow led to "confusion" about their provenance. He also tells Fortune that the college consulting business has become increasingly competitive, and sharp-elbowed rivals are "mudslinging" in an effort to discredit his firm. "We are going through an extremely difficult time," he says. "But at the end of the day, the students who we work with and who got into these top schools -- they are deserving of that."Some of Thailand's elite are starting to recognize that there are consequences to the kind of over-packaging that consultants provide. In late 2012 a group of 14 Ivy League alums in Thailand petitioned trustees of their alma maters to be more vigilant in monitoring applications from their home country. "Word on the streets of Bangkok is that unqualified applicants can purchase admission to any of the eight Ivy League colleges," read the letter, signed by Thais and expatriates, including an official with Thailand's ministry of finance. "The effects of this ongoing fraud are to diminish the global reputations of the universities, damage the reputations of honest and qualified Thai students who have not cheated, and lessen aid available to all students who are truly needy and deserving." Maria Laskaris, dean of admissions at Dartmouth, called the situation in Thailand "complex" and said it was the most concerted effort she's seen by alumni to rein in cheating.In the spring of 2013, Bangkok's top private high schools informed parents that selective U.S. colleges had become "increasingly concerned about the authenticity of applications from Thailand" and the use of unethical, private college-counseling agencies. Many of the city's private high schools this year have implemented strict policies to ensure that their students' applications are authentic, and they've lectured kids on ethical practices. Despite those efforts, one high school counselor suspects that students continue to use the city's more unscrupulous private consultants. The pressure is simply too great. Though parents and students in America put a premium on getting into a top college, that's especially the case in Asia, where American tuition is considered a huge investment, and one only worth making for a brand-name school. A degree from Stanford or Princeton is less an intellectual pursuit to some than a coveted symbol of economic and social status. One individual, who ghostwrites applications in Bangkok and claims to have gotten all but one student into top institutions, remembers having a conversation with a client: "But you don't like to read. Why do you want to go to Harvard?"Cheating on applications goes on in places other than Bangkok, of course. Last May the SAT was canceled for all of South Korea after one of the tests was leaked. The unabashed ghostwriter, who has worked in several Asian countries, says the demand for his services is highest in East Asia. According to a 2010 study from Zinch China, a service that promotes access to education, a large majority of application materials submitted by Chinese candidates are fake, including 90% of teacher recommendations, 70% of essays, and half the high school transcripts.It would be convenient to blame overzealous parents for the number of unqualified students arriving at American universities' doors, but admissions is a two-way street, and a growing number of schools are paying agents to turn up foreign students to bolster their enrollment numbers. Proponents say agents provide a real service, helping foreign students navigate the U.S. college application system. But reliance on paid recruiters can backfire and seriously damage a school's reputation.Far from the Ivies sits Dickinson State University, a school of 1,450 students in western North Dakota that sought to make up for declining enrollment tied to the region's diminishing high school population and, more recently, as local students began bypassing school in favor of lucrative jobs in the region's oilfields. From 2003 to 2011 it enrolled about 800 international students, primarily from China, in special-degree and certificate programs purely on the word of agents in China -- recruiters that Dickinson State paid for each student. When auditors finally checked in 2012 -- at the request of the school's new president -- they discovered that most of the students didn't have complete admissions files, often lacking transcripts or proof of English proficiency. Moreover, the hundreds who had graduated from the special program had received diplomas without completing all degree requirements.Dickinson State's president, D.C. Coston, disclosed the scandal and vowed to restore the integrity of the university by rescinding unearned diplomas and recommitting to college standards. Dale Gough, director of the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers, commends Coston for making the hard choice to be transparent about the school's mistakes. "Not many do," he says.Of course, schools don't need extensive audits and investigations to suss out bad applications. Admissions officers can compare a student's SAT writing sample to the application essays to make sure the two match in terms of writing ability and voice. Many schools also conduct interviews via Skype, or through a graduate or third-party service in the country. "The obligation is on us to be more vigilant, proactive, and thoughtful about what we see and are willing to believe," says Tufts' Grayson. It is a daunting task for an already pressure-filled profession. (See Tina Fey's high-strung workaholic character in the film Admission.) According to Inside Higher Ed's 2013 survey, 59% of colleges failed to meet their enrollment goals in 2013. Since 2011, the number of high school graduates in the U.S. has been declining, yet partly because of the surge in international interest (the very interest universities are stoking) and the emphasis colleges put on selectivity, there are more applications to process. (Colleges, too, try to game the system: The more applications a school can field, the more selective and highly rated it will appear in influential college rankings.)"It's going to take time and energy," Grayson admits. "But it's important, or else we're contributing and making it easier for [unethical consultants] to operate."In the meantime, the global get-into-college consulting business continues to boom. A trade association, the Overseas Association for College Admission Counseling, has seen membership swell from a handful of mostly European advisers when it was founded in 1991 to 1,300 today. Most consultants, of course, are ethical and get into the profession to help students. Indeed, that's how Sai Thanarat says he started, aiming to carry on his own high school counselor's tradition of walking promising young people through the college admissions process. By at least one measure, he has succeeded. According to AO's website, the firm just had its best admission season in company history.Editor's note: From 2006 to 2010 Erika Fry worked as a reporter for the Bangkok Post in Thailand. In 2009 she wrote a thoroughly reported and documented story about a Thai government official who was accused of plagiarism by a British agricultural consultant. After the story was published, she, an editor, and the consultant were charged with criminal defamation. The Bangkok Post defended the editor and Fry against the charges. On the advice of her own legal counsel, she left Thailand illegally in 2010 to avoid being in that country for the period of years it would take for the case to make its way through the system. Charges were dropped against the editor and dismissed against the consultant who raised the allegation; Fry's case is still pending because she had left the country. Fry, a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School and a former writer for the Columbia Journalism Review, has been a reporter at Fortune since 2012.This story is from Fortune Magazine. ‘But you don’t like to read. Why do you want to go to Harvard?’

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