Backstory: How to get into Harvard by almost trying

Are your child's SAT scores lower than Dick Cheney's approval ratings? Is junior's grade-point average only visible with a magnifying glass? Is there a definite absence of participation in sports, clubs, and charitable work to put on that college application? Then perhaps it's time you paid good money for Mr. Chuck's "This Way To Harvard," the college admission service that will overcome laughable test scores, mediocre grades, and the lack of any application-worthy activity other than intense pouting.

Is Mr. Chuck expensive? You better believe it. But to show why it makes sense for you to take out a second mortgage and sell the family heirlooms to get your child into a prestigious college, we invite you to read our case histories. By creating new personas for nonpersona children, the Mr. Chuck Ivy League admission rate has soared almost as high as Mr. Chuck's bank account.

Case history No. 132: Chloe

As we all know, nothing impresses admissions officers more than an applicant getting a book published. But Chloe's inability to finish reading a copy of US Weekly before the next one arrives gave us the sense that she was not a natural novelist. Therefore, as usual, we took matters into our own hands. We learned of a little known 18th-century Uzbekistan chick lit series. Written on lambskin with chicken beaks, these tales of young women trying to leave the family campfire for bigger campfires (and, in some cases, stoves) were transplanted by our staff to 21st century Scarsdale, N.Y. The resulting bestseller, "How Amber Almost Lost Her Cell Phone," got Chloe a three-picture deal at Paramount, an appearance on Oprah, and, of course, admission to Harvard.

Case history No. 512: Melanie

Although Melanie was unable to carry a tune, or spell the word "tune," her early admission to Yale, based on her hit song, "My Tune Is Your Tune, Too," typifies the success Mr. Chuck students have in getting into the college of their parents' choice. Our search for obscure Chinese folk melodies unearthed a song written during the Hip-Hop dynasty. Melanie's cacophonous recording, with meaningful yet unintelligible lyrics, zoomed to No. 1 on the charts within weeks of its release. It has left her the most popular student on campus since the young Barbara Bush (who, incidentally, chose not to use Mr. Chuck's version of "The Iliad" in her application to Yale.)

Case history NO. 335: Butch

Picking up on Butch's fascination with film (he has almost memorized the entire Chris Farley oeuvre), the Mr. Chuck staff set out to find an obscure film that Butch could put his name on and thus get into the college that honors his favorite mascot. (Butch's stuffed tiger still dangles from his wrist.) Unfortunately, this proved difficult since there is hardly a movie that some graduate student hasn't written a paper on. Nonetheless, our intrepid staff managed to obtain a print of an early D.W. Griffith short, "Slavery. What's The Problem?" that in 1915 was deemed too incendiary to release. Mr. Chuck's ace film editor, Mrs. Chuck, was able to create subtitles that indicated the story was one big joke. After its debut on "Saturday Night Live" and Butch's appearance at a panel discussion at New York University on the metaphysical aspects of Chris Farley films, ("Was the Universe Too Small To Contain His Genius?"), Butch's admission to Princeton was a mere formality.

Chuck Cohen is a satirist in California.

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