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A Is for Admission: The Insider's Guide to Getting into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges Paperback – September 22, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Who gets in and why". -- Chronicle of Higher Education

From the Back Cover

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, THE COMPLETE, INSIDE STORY FROM AN ACTUAL IVY LEAGUE ADMISSIONS OFFICER

For generations, the admissions process of the Ivy League schools has been cloaked in mystery and myth. Now Michele A. Hernandez, a former admissions officer at Dartmouth College, finally breaks the ancient code of silence to reveal how the world's most highly selective schools really make their decisions. With absolute candor, she tells you all the hard truths, how officials factor in every extenuating circumstance, and, most important, how to make this complex, high-stakes system work for you. Thorough, direct, and written for results, A IS FOR ADMISSION answers the questions asked by countless students:
-- What do admissions officers look for and what turns them off?
-- How are test scores and grades truly evaluated?
-- Does applying for early decision hurt or help you get into the college of your choice?
-- How can you improve the odds of acceptance? ...and much more.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Rev Upd edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446540676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446540674
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Hernandez doesn't coddle up to the reader. She doesn't give false hope, or outline strategies that may have worked for someone whose extreme luck got them on the waiting list for Princeton. No, she gives the cold reality, and explains to the reader quite descriptively the process in which a thousand students are selected from tens of thousands.

The reason I say that it's more of a litmus test is that most readers go into this book thinking that ANYONE could follow the pages step by step, checking off each word of advice, and then finding a big, thick envelope waiting for them in their mailboxes with a thrilling offer of admission. They quickly learn, however, that not everyone is Ivy League material, at least at the age of 17-18. No one likes to hear that their child or they themselves are limited, but believe me, having gone through the college admission process, it's instrumental for one to have a clear understanding of what is doable and what isn't. Hernandez does an excellent job of describing what sort of student one is (or one has the capability of), and then shows that the obvious Ivy League-level kids stand a great chance of getting in, as is. She then describes little tricks and strategies for these kids to prepare their applications accordingly, what not to say in an interview, being one's self in the personal essay, and so forth. In other words, she shows the student how NOT to mess up their application.

For those who aren't necessarily Ivy League bound but still very intelligent and hard working, the author gives advice on how to maximize such a person's profile and luck so that the chance of getting noticed by an Ivy League admissions officer increases significantly, though not necessarily immensely.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My daughter and I had just attended our first college info session the weekend before purchasing this book. I could hear so much of what the admissions officer said echoed in this book but it wasn't until reading the book that I really understood what the admissions officer was saying. The book was like a rollercoaster ride - okay we're covered there; oops, we might be in trouble here; omg we definitely missed the boat on that one! Since reading the book we've attended 5 other college info sessions. 3 were private ivy colleges and 2 were "ivy type" public colleges. The most consistent messages - matching what was stated in the book - was that even more than the high scores on the SAT and ACT, the schools were looking for potential students who would bring something special to the table - a special inner drive that is such a part of their makeup that anyone describing them would likely touch on it. The admissions officers also touched on their quest for diversity in the student body although none actually admitted to flagging or coding the student files. I can see from many of the communications that we are receiving from these schools (among others) that they are indeed targeting specific audiences in their diversity recruiting efforts. With regards to how the applications are reviewed by assigned officers first and then either accepted right off the bat or put forward to a committee for further evaluation and consideration - most of the schools did acknowledge that process. Most of them did actually review physical files. Interestingly enough, UC Berkeley strives to be fully electronic. They do not want paper of any type.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I checked online through several college sites to find a book that gives a concise, informative review of the admissions process. This is the title that kept coming up. "A is for Admission" has the details that flesh out the generalized articles in annual editions of U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges". Now the system actually makes sense to me, and the book is an easy read. My son just signed up for 9th grade and I wondered if I was starting too early, but after reading the book I believe middle school is the best time to start. The way I see it--our kids tell us their goals and we give them the support they need to reach those goals. This book helped me as a parent to better understand how to support my son. I would love to see a book of this quality that described the admission procedures at California's top universities and colleges.
3 Comments 8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I definitely appreciated this candid look at the admissions process of the Ivy League, and actually found it rather reassuring- Hernandez goes a good job of dispelling the paranoid rumors that have been spreading around my high school, (like, we'll be at a disadvantage because of our state, etc) and also provides the much-desired AI formula. However, I have a feeling that as admissions standards are rising, the formula has lost accuracy. For example, when I plugged in my scores and GPA, I came out as slightly above average for accepted Dartmouth students. I know for a fact that this has changed! My only reservation at giving the full five stars is that I don't believe Hernandez fufilled her promise of providing tricks to raise your AI.
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