Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania

Grand Central. Mar. 2015. 224p. ISBN 9781455532704. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781455532698. ED
College acceptance letters begin arriving in late March and culminate in National College Decision Day, May 1. However, for some students and their families, getting into the right university has become a frenzied process beginning in preschool with the express intent of an Ivy League acceptance letter. Bruni, a New York Times op-ed columnist and author (Born Round; Ambling into History), here looks at the entire admissions process and the increased cultural desire for an elitist education. To that end, he profiles successful Americans who did not attend elite institutions. He also talks with counselors who parse the admissions process and the true meaning of the college ratings scales. Bruni looks at what fuels the increased demand for a top educational experience as well as studies, the results of which defy the notion that success in life is dependent on where you attend classes.
VERDICT Bruni's investigative reporting skills serve his audience (parents and students) well. His accessible narrative challenges the cultural fixation on elite educations while illuminating the commonalities of college experiences that have resulted in professional success and lives well lived. A worthy addition to college admissions literature. [See Prepub Alert, 9/29/14.]
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