His academic record was spotty, but as he applied for graduate studies in the United States, Bo Guagua would have looked like quite a catch to many universities, according to researchers who study college admissions, Reuters reports. The young man had deep connections to China’s elite; his father was an up-and-coming politician poised to enter the Communist Party leadership and his mother came from a renowned military family. On top of all that, young Bo appeared to have access to considerable wealth — and was not shy about spending it.

“Colleges are always happy to see those students enroll,” said David Hawkins, director of public policy for the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

International students in general are hot commodities now at many schools — and one of apparent means and influence? “That’s a twofer,” Hawkins said, meaning Bo brought two assets to the table in his application…

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