Skillfully blending facts and figures with evocative case studies, Mitchell Stevens illuminates the process of admissions to an elite college, and shows how vexed and conflicted it is. (Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University)
At the most influential American colleges, growing competition to be selective and to be selected is undermining the democratic values traditionally entrusted to higher education. Rather than serving as routes to social mobility, many college admission offices end up perpetuating the status quo. Mitchell Stevens's thoughtful and eloquent book illuminates the machinations of the system-- and its consequences. (Lloyd Thacker, President, Education Conservancy and editor of College Unranked
This fascinating book uses fly-on-the-wall reporting to show how decision-makers at a prestigious liberal arts college unwittingly perpetuate an American elite. Mitchell Stevens has done a real service by pulling back the curtain on the secretive college admissions process. (Susan Coll, author of Acceptance: A Novel
Stevens is a storyteller, an ethnographer who takes readers on an 18-month journey as an admissions counselor. He skillfully paints a rich description of how admissions officers at a private, highly selective, liberal arts college make decisions, and explains why the ability to assemble strong applications is not evenly distributed across the population...Stevens states that his book is about privileged families and the organizational machinery in place to pass comfortable social positions on to their children. The book does much more...This text is a must read for undergraduate students, faculty, and parents. (A. A. Hodge Choice
Mitchell Stevens gives a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of how prestigious colleges make [admissions] decisions and shows how what they decide has shaped the lifestyle and values of upper-middle-class America...It is his first-hand experience that makes the book such a gem--Stevens' narrative brings us into the thought-world of the admissions office itself, allowing the reader to view the process from the inside out. (Jordan Hylden First Things
Merit may have displaced money as the primary calling card for admission to an elite college, but readers of this book may wonder if much has really changed. (Education Week
About the Author
Mitchell L. Stevens is Associate Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Sociology at Stanford University. He is the author of Kingdom of Children: Culture and Controversy in the Homeschooling Movement.