INTRODUCTION

There is a thought that may have already occurred to you, high school students. If not, it’s coming soon.

You’ll think to yourself, “If only I had a disability.”

You’ll look at your toes and think, “I could lose a toe.”

If it would give you an edge in the college admissions process, you would gladly lose a toe. “That could be an interesting essay,” you’ll think: “My Life Without Toe(s).”

Or, better yet: If only you were really, really poor; if only you were an orphan; if only you had survived cancer, or somehow overcome an enormous adversity like the “Homeless to Harvard” girl who, you think to yourself, got into Harvard. If only you had been a runaway, lived on a train, gotten an experience that could distinguish you, lost the aforementioned ...

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