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The Early Admissions Game: Joining the Elite, with a new chapter Paperback – January 29, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0674016200 ISBN-10: 0674016203

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (January 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674016203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674016200
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #593,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Early Admissions Game is intended as an exposé, for high-school students and their parents, of the realities of college admissions, but it is also a protest against the practice of early admissions. The authors believe that these programs benefit privileged students...[and] cheat disadvantaged students. (Louis Menand New Yorker)

The authors present a devastating portrait of elite college admissions--and early admissions in particular--as an elaborate and complicated 'game'...[where the winners] tend to be privileged students who have access to highly skilled counselors with information pipelines to elite college admissions offices. (Peter Sacks The Nation)

About the Author

Christopher Avery is Professor of Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Andrew Fairbanks is former Associate Dean of Admissions at Wesleyan University.

Richard Zeckhauser is Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

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Customer Reviews

This book reveals the truth about early admissions.
E. Hinojosa
Despite the somewhat quantitative and dry nature of this book, it is very easy to read given the very lively writing style of the authors.
Gaetan Lion
I recommend it to everyone who has children in high school.
Ward J. Mazzucco

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on January 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book that provides the best evidence that Early Admission programs boost your chance of admission. The authors have conducted world-class research on this esoteric subject. They support any of their hypotheses with a lot of data, graphs, tables, and references. In other words, they don't make anything up. And, they uncover a whole lot of stuff nobody else did. Despite the somewhat quantitative and dry nature of this book, it is very easy to read given the very lively writing style of the authors.
This book fits a very unique niche within the college admission literature. I can't think of any other book as a substitute. However, I also recommend `A is for Admission' by Michele Hernandez. In their own research, the authors mention this is one of the better and most honest books on college admission they came across. I agree, as I have also studied that book in detail. Nevertheless, `The Early Admission Game' given its much more narrow focus than your standard college admission guide drills down a lot deeper on acceptance rate probabilities, and other implications of the early admission programs at top schools.
Their research is unequivocal; applying Early Action (EA) is the equivalent of a 100-point boost in SAT score. While applying Early Decision (ED) is the equivalent of a 150 + point boost in SAT score. Most of the selective schools that use these programs refute this evidence. They argue that the pool of students who apply early is much stronger, and that is why the acceptance rates are higher. But, the authors' research strongly rebuts this. To the contrary, they found there is very little difference between the early applicants and the regular ones. They actually found that EA applicants were slightly stronger.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By K. G Havemann on May 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent expose of the game of college admissions as played mostly by the wealthiest and and most sophisticated prospective students who know about early decision programs. This book is, therefore, a must-read for every high school guidance counselor and parent of a child going to college, especially those who believe elite college admissions are extended only to the best qualified.
The only criticism of early admission I have some disagreement with is one emphasized frequently in the book -- that first semester high school seniors who apply early do not have time to sufficiently research potential colleges and know which will be the best fits for them. Information about colleges should be gathered during the student's junior year and, by September or October of his senior year, he/she should have a a good enough idea of what is reasonable to attain and what he/she wants in a college to be able to choose one above all others -- if early decision is something that student wants. The difference in application deadlines is only two months, not enough to make a significant difference for the serious-minded student. If that student wants Princeton more than any other college and, if Princeton fills 60% of its class from early applicants, it would be foolish for that student to wait until January to apply. That may not be the ideal situation but it is the reality.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Bradford R. MacGowan on May 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In the not-too-distant past, the college admissions process was fairly straightforward. It was not fair, but it was fairly straightforward. Some recent changes to the process have brought more fairness, some have brought more complexity, and some have reduced fairness while increasing complexity. A change that has both reduced fairness and increased complexity is the preponderance of "Early Admissions" (i.e., "Early Decision" and "Early Action") plans.
Whatever one's opinions on Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED), they are realities that present high school students, their parents, and their counselors with a dilemma: To EA/ED or not to EA/ED?
When looking for answers to this dilemma, students, parents, and counselors have had to rely on unclear messages, equivocal statements, anecdotes, and urban myths.
"The Early Admissions Game: Joining the Elite" shines a bright and needed light into the darkest recesses of a murky maze. The book combines irrefutable statistics and the words of high school students, college students, and admissions professionals to present a clear and readable picture of a complex, often hermetic issue.
I don't use the phrase "irrefutable statistics" loosely here. Statistics are too often used to "prove" a theory that looks a lot like the preconceived notion that the researcher brought to the research. However, in this case, the authors possess the objectivity to report their findings with clarity and without baggage. Also, their backgrounds in economics, public policy, and college admissions give them the qualifications and abilities to present a comprehensive and in-depth review of the subject.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is for those young people who have Ivy League dreams. Avery and his colleagues have written a guide for high school students and parents who don't know much about the game of early admissions. It's written in an accessible way. The authors bolster their advice with strong empirical evidence.
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