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

Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am loving this book. The tone is just right. And the advice Bruni is giving matches advice I have received at college admissions visits: let your kid find the school that is right for her. Size, course offerings, geography, political climate, community — so many things matter more than prestige.

p. 25: “There’s no equivalence between straight As in school and sharp professional tools, and that’s one of the many reasons to question the obsession with colleges that admit only students with the highest GPAs.”

Where will your child have opportunities to stretch? To grow? To meet interesting people and have new experiences?

p. 37: “Does a prestigious college make you successful in life? Or do you do that for yourself?”

I need this more than the kids does. I am the one who is freaked out about not being able to provide, not being able to promise. I feel so much calmer after having finished Bruni’s book.

p.112: “. . . too many kids get to college . . . make it as comfortable and recognizable as possible. . . They join groups that perpetuate their high school cliques.” Bruni suggests that students us college as a place for learning fresh outlooks and bridging divides.

Some good resources include Colleges That Change Lives and the The Gallup Purdue Index.

If prestige is truly important in your choice of college, look at which schools produce the most Rhodes Scholars, the most Fulbrights.

p. 140: “A good student can get a good education just about anywhere, and a student who’s not that serious about learning isn’t going to get much benefit.” (Krueger, Princeton economics professor who did a study on incomes as related to SAT scores and colleges attended)

p. 142: In terms of employment, the world cares more about your ability to get the job done and to learn how to do more than the actual college you attended.

p. 157: ” . . . an elite school composed almost entirely of young men and women who have aced the SATs or ACTs isn’t likely to be the most exciting, eclectic stew of people and perspectives.” – I agree somewhat. But if you’re a kid who’s loved learning and put in the efforts throughout to achieve while growing up in a culture that makes fun of that, it could be exhilarating.

I have to trust that the kid, who’s always had a fierce personality and known her own self, will do her research and make the most out of wherever she lands. Deep breaths mama bear, deep breaths.

p. 158: “Elite schools pride themselves on their diversity, but that diversity is almost entirely a matter of ethnicity and race. With respect to class, these schools are largely – indeed increasingly – homogeneous.”

p. 171: “It’s interesting to think about how this is shaping America. If our elite is to some extent being formed by this experience of frenzied admissions, does it suggest that we’re creating a culture in which the sale is more important than the product?” (Marx, former Amherst president)

p. 189: “You don’t become a great academic because you’re trying to become a great academic . . . You become a great academic when you look out the window and have something to say . . . that’s unique.” (Chodosh, Claremont-McKenna president.)

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