Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges--and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates

by Daniel Golden

I never applied to an elite college, but I had friends and classmates who did. Two of my high school classmates went to Cornell, and one went to Yale. And now I know how tough it was to get there. I also know that something besides their academic records may have gotten them into the Ivy League.

Golden's book examines who is being admitted to the Ivy League, etc. and why. The following reasons are examined:

  • Parents who are big donors
  • Families who are big potential donors
  • Celebrities
  • Legacies
  • Upper crust athletic scholarships
  • Admission breaks for faculty brats

Golden also mentions the higher standard to which Asian American students are held, as well as great schools that don't engage in admissions nonsense.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. As someone who has no connections and no money, I had no idea how the admissions game worked at these fancy schools. Good thing I never applied--there's no way that I'd have been admitted!

What I find most fascinating is how I will look at fancy college pedigrees in the future--with great contempt and skepticism.

This is a "must read" for anyone who thinks their kid is smart enough to go to Harvard. Smart enough is not enough.


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