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Inside the Pricey, Totally Legal World of College Consultants Image

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For prices up to $1.5 million, parents can buy a five-year, full-service package of college admissions consulting from a company in New York City called Ivy Coach.

The service — all of it legal — begins as early as eighth grade, as students are steered toward picking the right classes and extracurriculars to help them stand out from the crowd. Then comes intensive preparation for the SAT or ACT, both “coachable exams,” explained Brian Taylor, the company’s managing director, followed by close editing of college essays.

“Is that unfair? That the privileged can pay?” Mr. Taylor asked. “Yes. But that’s how the world works.”

The fallout from the college admissions scandal announced by federal prosecutors this week was just beginning for the accused on Wednesday. Wealthy parents charged in the case began surrendering to the authorities. And consequences also loomed for the students, as the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California, both of which had athletic coaches named in the indictment, vowed to punish anyone connected to the scheme.

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