“The Ivy League can open doors for you, through alumni and for interviews,” said Sheila Curran, a career and organizational consultant.

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In 2008, Akash Maharaj was accused of lying to get into another Ivy League sister, Yale, and was eventually convicted of stealing scholarship money from the school.

An article about the swindle in the Yale Daily News, which included a host of admission fraud cases dating back to the 1970s, stated that Maharaj’s situation was “a startlingly common story: A student who, swept up in an admissions frenzy, resorts to bending the rules to secure a spot among the elite.” Scores of students, often pushed by their parents, feel compelled to get into one of the Ivy League universities — including Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania — no matter what it takes because many see it as a surefire path to success.

While experts said an Ivy League university is a smart call for many students, the education may not be right for everyone, especially those students who don’t know what they want or who seek a more nurturing environment — more likely found in a smaller, lesser-known institution.

The environment also may be too much of a pressure-cooker for some kids.

Many were surprised when news broke that student Adam Wheeler allegedly lied to get into Harvard.

But it turns out that fibbing to make it into an Ivy League school is nothing new.

“I had advocated for a gap year, but her parents overruled it.” Goodman charges between ,000 and ,000 to help prepare students to get into top schools by guiding them on how to choose extracurricular activities, academic classes — even what they should be doing during summer and winter breaks.

“A lot of people say they want the right school for them, but what they really mean is, ‘I want the right school as long as it’s Princeton,’ ” he said.

Other Ivy League schools also reported increases in applications this year. “So it's safe to say that our roots run deep within the Ancient Eight,” he said.