1. Have a rich parent that attended the college you are trying to attend.
If your parents are willing to donate enough, especially if your parents went to the particular college you wish to attend, you can probably get in if you’re not a complete dunce. But we’re not talking chump change. Think in terms of at least mid 5 zeros, of not 6. And remember this is in addition to “legacy.”
2. Be a fantastic athlete in a revenue generating sport.
If you can put people in the seats of a stadium you can get into a good school even if you have exhibited questionable academic achievement. Allan Iverson was on his way to prison after a bowling alley brawl after he graduated from high school. Yet, after a pardon from the governor, Mr. Iverson was instead on his way to Georgetown University to play basketball.
3. Be famous.
Brooke Shields went to Princeton. That’s right, Princeton. While there she studied the ecosystems of blue lagoons.
4. Have stellar SATs
If you can prove that you are really some kind of eccentric mysto genius via a stratospheric SAT score, many good schools will take a chance on you. SATs are the best predictor of success at university.
5. Go to community college for a couple of years.
If you can demonstrate that you can excel at university level work despite lackluster high school marks, many good colleges will welcome you with open arms.
Community college is the best route for most high school under achievers with ambition. Plus you will likely save thousands on your education.