Where You Go Is not Who You'll Be (affiliate link) I received an email offering me a review copy and a chance to give away up to 5 copies of the book. I jumped at both. Frank Bruni's new book is a hot topic among my friends who are in the midst of or getting ready for the college admissions process. The book is like a reassuring hug for those who easily get sucked into feeling like their child has to go to a big-name, high-prestige college or university.
Rather than spotlight big name schools, Bruni highlights our national obsession with them. Think about it, how often do you read or hear a business leader being referred to as "Harvard-educated" as opposed to being called out as a graduate of, say, Northern Michigan University (which is where Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz went)? The less well-known schools do not get their due. Further, Bruni drives the point home that a less well-known school is not a lesser institution.
He rips into the college rating system that's currently dominated by US News and World Report, sharing examples of their flawed rating processes.
As Bruni provides a detailed overview of the modern admissions process, he lays out application trends. I didn't realize the Common Application has been around for decades. It only recently caught on like wildfire, though, likely because of the ease of modern communication. Today's student typically applies to more schools than my age peers did. He notes the rise of international students coming to college in the US and its impact on admission rates for US students. In addition, he examines the impact of legacy admissions and other political aspects of the admissions process.
He also shines a light on the rapidly growing business of college admissions consulting. Affluent families set on top tier schools may spend as much as $50,000 for coaching and consulting from middle-school until their child matriculates. Bruni notes that although many counselors stress their role in finding the right fit for a given student, they also tend to boast about the number of their clients who head off to highly selective schools.
I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book right now and even though we're not eyeing the Ivy League schools for my boys Bruni has given me a lot to think about and discuss with my family. His book is an informative, but easy, read. I think you'll like it.