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Harvard Schmarvard: Getting Beyond the Ivy League to the College That Is Best for You Paperback – March 11, 2003
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Praise for Harvard Schmarvard:
"This book gives us a welcome and helpful way of looking at college and university rankings. Jay Mathews offers refreshing insights into the college admissions process and makes the important point that getting into the 'best' college is less important than choosing the college that brings out the best in every student." — Richard W. Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education
"In a day when college-bound students are inundated with recruitment material and confusing claims of merit, Jay Mathews provides important guidance to help families navigate the college selection and application process." — William J. Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education
"Harvard Schmarvard is a smart, contrarian perspective on the pressure-filled college admissions process, by one of the country's best education writers. It's combination of advice, research, wit, and first-person tales from the frontlines deserves to be read by every high school student and every parent." — David A. Kaplan, senior editor, Newsweek
"There may be a better book on college admissions than Mathews', but I don't know what it is. Among overanxious candidates and parents—including me—nothing is more important than demolishing the silly idea that not getting into Harvard (or Duke, Stanford, or some other 'prestige' school) is a life-ending experience. Mathews does this and provides an immense amount of useful information about tests, guidance counselors, college selection, and early admissions. The book has the added advantage of being compulsively readable." — Robert J. Samuelson, Newsweek columnist
"Jay Mathews gets it. He puts into perspective what has become an increasingly out-of-control college admissions process. Any family embarking on this path will benefit from this guide." — Seppy Basili, coauthor, The Unofficial, Biased Guide to the 320 Most Interesting Colleges
"This book will free teens and parents from that stupid myth that college quality is measured by selectivity or name. A badly needed public service that lays bare the rankings fraud and the complicity of colleges in it." — Loren Pope, author, Colleges That Change Lives
"It would be great if all college-bound students read this book; for their parents it should be mandatory. I don't agree with every tip that Jay Mathews offers, but on the whole his is a wonderful voice of sanity on a subject that has driven much of America nuts." — James Fallows, The Atlantic Monthly
"Harvard Schmarvard demystifies and demythologizes the college selection process. Jay Mathews gives high school seniors and their parents a fresh and challenging perspective to college admissions that flies in the face of 'street wisdom' and the college rating guides." — Greg Feldmeth, assistant headmaster, Polytechnic School
"Finally, a resource for all college-bound students, not just the elite. Mathews' style is straightforward and honest. He provides realistic advice in a down-to-earth, humorous style. I will encourage all of my students and their parents to read this book." — Sally C. O'Rourke, high school counselor
"Selecting a college is one of the most important decisions many families make. Mathews both entertains and educates in making that decision a better one and, most importantly, making it one that both parents and students will be happy with. Calmly, clearly, with humor and zest, Mathews provides practical and jargon-free advice on how students can get the best education for them." — Dick Reed, Fairfax County, Virginia parent
"Compared to other annoying books on how to get into the best schools, Jay Mathews' book is a breath of fresh air. My own application experience has been eased by his lighthearted, almost satirical views on the process." — Linh Truong, student
From the Inside Flap
Smarten Up--It's Time to Choose the "Right College
Think that your life's growth, success, and happiness depend on which college you attend? The higher-profile school, the better, right? Wrong! Neither is true.
Written by, yes, a Harvard grad, "Harvard Schmarvard rebuts the perception that image is everything when it comes to college and emphasizes this simple fact: What you will be measured by in life is your talent and energy, not your college's name. Packed with practical information and insider tips, this must-have guide will help you determine which school fits "you. Inside, you'll find:
-How to survive the application process without losing your sanity or sense of humor
-Tips on writing essays, visiting campuses, and keeping cool during your college interviews
-The truth about search letter scams and the early admissions game
-Plus loads of other invaluable insight!
So take a deep breath and exhale your worries and fears. Let "Harvard Schmarvard debunk the myths, expose you to the truth, and clear your mind so you can weigh what's really important.
Top customer reviews
He also points out that a third of college students transfer. Some go from a small college to a mega-size college. Transferring can solve the problem of "right fit"...but finding that "right fit" while in high school is ideal.
Mr. Mathews includes a list of 100 colleges that are well known in the education community for exceptional undergraduate teaching...none of them are famous because they are not in the Ivy League and none of them spend much money on football or basketball...they spend their money on education.
The main messages in this book are three: One, you don't need to go to the Ivy League or the most selective colleges to be successful in life. In fact, lost of successful people come from no-name schools. Two, U.S. News & World Report misleads parents and students, which I couldn't agree more. Three, college selectiion is a process to find a match for you, not to seek prestige or recognition.
The list of 100 recommended colleges at the end of the book is also wonderful. A lot of these schools are hidden gems.
If this book is so good, why do I only give it 4 stars? Well, it is mainly because there are so few quantitative data quoted in this book to back up the author's claims. If people can be just as successful going to selective vs. non-selective schools, where is the research data to back it up? Why didn't Harvard provide the author a great educational experience? Are there research out there that showed how and why research universities have failed the undergraduates? ...
Do I recommend people buying this book? Absolutely! But I think it can also be improved.
Mathews use of first-hand experiences � his own daughter�s included � make his words that much more relevant and believable. Any student or parent will find themselves profiled here.
In one especially valuable section, he corrects a misunderstanding about college costs � they are far lower than most imagine � that has kept too many lower income students from even considering college. Read this book and learn how to get the best education possible. It�s there for everyone, and Mathews show you how to get it.
Be that as it may, the actual guts of the book and the listed schools make this worth a read. I like the fact that Mr. Mathews has a broader focus than Loren Pope's "Colleges That Change Lives", with an understanding that a large university might actually be the best choice, both academically and financially, for somebody -- a view that Loren Pope doesn't entertain in his book.
This is a good resource for the college hunt, but not the only book you'll need. I would also suggest Mr. Loren Pope's books, despite my reservations, and at least on of the data heavy books like Fiske or Peterson's. At some point you'll WANT to have all that data at your fingertips.