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The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College Paperback – July 29, 2003
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Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
I suppose that the main issue which this whole process really boils down to is the following: As a college applicant, is it more important to succeed in life relative to the world around you (i.e. relative to your classmates, to others of your race, to others of your geographical area, to your own parents' life and accomplishments, etc.) or is it more important to succeed absolutely and not on a relative scale. This book clearly informs us that the answer is the former and not the latter. Whether that should be the answer is another question.
For example, say that a student's entire life could be distilled into 2 numbers each on a sliding scale from 1-10. The first number is simply your academic performance (grades, SAT's, course load, etc.) The second number is your background (race, economic circumstances, gender, etc.Read more ›
1) Of the 3000 colleges in USA, one can find at least 100 good colleges, many nearby and easy to get into, where one can get a fine education.
2) There are only about 50 or so elite colleges that play these admission games. I call them the Orwellian colleges based on George Orwell's book, not 1984, but Animal Farm. You remember the famous quote, "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others." Animal Farm should be required reading of all admission officers. Did Orwell saw this coming?
3) This book illustrates in a gripping story all the ups and downs of the admission process at one of the Orwellian schools. The racial and ethnic preferences can be disturbing if you were expecting merit to matter. Jonathan Kozol questions on the back cover, "Whether it is actually a 'meritocracy' at all." That is a euphemism for "It sure ain't."
4) Are all the elite colleges like that? I am afraid so. Only a few elite have avoided this fate. CalTech is still strictly merit. The CalTech admission officer said recently, "Race, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. do not count at all." And Cornell gives a fairer shake than the other Ivies. My alma mater, MIT, is about the worst of all. MIT's admission policies are abysmal. If you can believe the president (Don't ever believe admission people!), over 75% of those accepted at MIT are based on preferences. I had thought it was only about 60%.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very eye opening! I really got a feel for what the admissions officers go through. I really had no idea, i thought it was much more impersonal. Read morePublished 2 months ago by pjrebat
Great insight for parents with college bound kids at home. Covers the process from all perspectives. Follows the cases from end to end.Published 9 months ago by Raimundo Riojas A.
I enjoyed the book a lot. The college admissions process is a big deal, it can shape the rest of your life, and how Steinberg was able to focus in on that was brilliant. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Halimat Adeyemi
As a high school senior I found this book to be extremely interesting, even though some of the information is no longer necessarily relevant in the current year, versus the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Elizabeth Dubelman
I struggled a little when try to decide how many star to give. It's an excellent book and very informative. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Thought it was a candid story. Getting a view from the inside was eye opening. Good read for anyone starting high school or a parent ofPublished 12 months ago by Karen Mercurio
Great read, even though it was a required book for a class.Published 13 months ago by J. Forsythe-Crane