What they don't get, and what I've been banging on about since I met them, is that they need more than nerdy. Getting A grades is good, but I can show them a bunch of kids who get A grades, and do other interesting stuff too. If they want to go to the best colleges, they need to be nerdy + interesting + capable of reading mind broadening books other than textbooks, and they aren't that yet.
Anyway, our students go to cramming camps over the summer. They're usually in the US, and introduce the kids who go there to new experiences and teachers who tell them what's what, and who's who an American colleges. I don't know what one of the lecturers at this college said to my nerds, but they've come back telling me "Ok, so you know those books that you told me might broaden me? Can I read them?"