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Customer Review

92 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REVEALING, November 24, 2002
This review is from: The Gatekeepers (Hardcover)
I agree with the reviewer who is an admissions officer that this book could have been about any private college. The methodology and procedures are the same everywhere, I am sure.
The book only reinforced what I already believed...that parents of those kids who are not star material are the ones who end up paying the bills for those who are at elite private colleges. I am one of those parents who paid! AS Steinberg says: "To help offset their financial losses due to increased costs for financial aid, colleges initiated an intense search for other 'customers' who could pay full price, whether from the U.S. or abroad."
I think the author did a marvelous job of making this a really interesting book, and immediately recommended it to my sister and brother, who both have boys in high school now. I did warn them, however, that what they read might be somewhat discouraging.
First, these admissions officers are very subjective (and how could they be anything else?)with a huge case load to handlein a very short period of time.
Second, I was appalled that one of the most important issues for college admission staffs seems to be how their rejection/yield rate is perceived by U.S. News and World Report.
And third, the way admissions standards are tweaked for academic stars or to achieve diversity can seem very unfair to those who have sons who fall into neither of these categories (a star or a minority).
I think there are many lessons about the college application process to be learned from reading this book. Perhaps the most important lesson is not to set your heart on one school.
I suggest this book as "must" reading for parents, students, and high school guidance counselors.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 27, 2009 3:16:03 PM PDT
CeeCee says:
Great points. I heartily agree!

In reply to an earlier post on May 7, 2012 6:39:42 PM PDT
C. Hill says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 17, 2012 8:19:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 17, 2012 8:21:45 AM PST
Excellent point. It also jump started my thinking and helped me consider the whole college entrance/scholarship thing from a new angle, and I plan to have a Conversation soon with my own boy on this very point!

We're a white, middle class American family. I have a hard-working and bright son who is pretty ambitious academically, and who has his eye on his dad's very expensive engineering alma mater, (and we do not have the means to pay for it as we are a one (small) income family. There's a boy we know who got a 4-year full ride to the very same school, and his good fortune is nagging my son a little, I think. That needs to stop before the bitter roots take hold of his heart. I need to make sure I don't fuel that bitterness with any of my own (I have several friends at church whose kids and husbands got full rides because they are minorities. It's potentially perilous to our relationships if I don't check my own heart on this subject).

I've tried to raise my kids to believe they should expect no special breaks or advantages in this world -- and that's just fine. If my son wants something and works hard for it, yet it's ultimately given to someone smarter, orphaned, disadvantaged, or to one who "knows someone who knows someone" -- well, that's life, and he's promised nothing in this world. He'll get his breaks and leg-ups now and then -- whether he's earned them or not. He already has. (Come to think of it, my husband has already set an example for him -- he's lost many lucrative government contract bids because he's not a minority, a woman, disabled, or a veteran, yet he always has plenty of work and never whines -- he just keeps doing his best).

My son needs to be reminded to count his blessings instead of focusing on whether or not things are fair (and he's particularly blessed to have a wonderful, loving father who spends most of his free time doing things with his kids and teaching them all he can). When he starts to whine about the whole college entrance/scholarship thing (and he does occasionally -- even on the very topic being addressed in your review), I'll tell him that if everything was fair, he'd be living on a bowl of rice each day like most people in the world do. He should be glad that "unfair" means paying his own way through a pretty good life. No free lunches here. And absolutely no whining allowed. My son -- buck up, get over yourself, and get to work -- and be glad your biggest problems in life are deciding which college to attend and how to finance it.

Thanks, reviewer, for the helpful kick in the pants!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2013 3:45:48 PM PDT
N Husain says:
Beautiful words of wisdom. Fair is for the next life, not this one.

Posted on Aug 3, 2013 9:37:08 PM PDT
S. Gordon says:
Who is to say that any of these "minorities" or "stars" have not worked insanely hard in academics, extra-curricular activities, volunteering activities, family responsibilities, and so much more? This is just one book that talks about admissions. Reading extensively across disciplines (i.e. public/social policy, political science) and not just one school's admission guide will truly debunk many of the unfound claims being made here that trivialize the work of the students and their families. For the reviewer who says that her husband lost contracts because he was not a woman, minority, disabled or veteran, are you sure it was just because your husband did not have the actual SKILLS, EXPERIENCE, AND NETWORK to back him up. So all these contracts went to women, minority women, disabled women, veteran/veteran women? Wow really? Your argument is actually quite contradicting at best. If you did not care about alleged "special handouts" let your husband take RESPONSIBILITY for his failures and move on versus using groups as scapegoats. These overly used-extreme-cliché and extreme generalizations of minorities, women, disabled, and veteran are getting too outdated and too ridiculous. Please public educate yourselves and start to critically analyze the documents your are reading. You guys really act as if none of these groups( as if they are not human) do not work hard, study hard, and sweat tears for their academic achievements. Sad to believe you guys are raising and contributing to the ignorance in society. Thank God for true critical intellectuals in the life sciences, social sciences, business, and more. They are the future, not close-minded individuals that are easily influenced by "stories" and not peer reviewed scholarly evidence and articles.

Posted on May 2, 2015 11:23:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2015 11:25:41 AM PDT
In other words, the admission process is full of bigotry to anyone who is white , male and comes from an American family , not recently immigrated to the US. very shocking really .
I went to a school in California, private and expensive, where if you were from Latin America, you got free tuition. I was considered brilliant and offered a scholarship at the UofW, but I went there and dropped out after one quarter. because I couldn't afford it and it was also a bad joke.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2015 12:04:47 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 2, 2015 12:11:08 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2015 12:09:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2015 12:10:02 PM PDT
BeachReader says:
to Teresa.....no, just white and male

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2015 12:12:13 PM PDT
BeachReader says:
No, they took my average kid (paying full price) so that the stars could get scholarships!!! You sure missed my point.
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