Perry Factor looks like an ideal college applicant. The Harvard-Westlake senior scored 1530 on his SAT and maintains a 4.036 (weighted) GPA. He's volunteered for years at his former elementary school, is a production editor on the high school paper, sings in the school choir and is on the jujitsu team. Nevertheless, Factor said he's "not entirely confident" about getting into his top college choice, Rice University in Texas.
"There are always horror stories about looking like the perfect candidate and not getting admitted," he said.
Like Factor, teens around the nation -- and their parents -- are finding an increasingly competitive atmosphere for college applicants.
"There are more students applying than ever before ... yet there are not necessarily more spaces," said Tami Gelb, college counselor at Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles (YULA).
In some families, breast and ovarian cancers take an inordinately fierce toll, striking one generation after another, menacing mothers, daughters, sisters and cousins. And for the women in these families, wondering if and when cancer might strike becomes a daily burden.