A report just released by the Harvard Graduate School of Education is striking a chord with those concerned about the state of college admissions. The report, “Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions”, challenges the current emphasis on individual achievement and recommends a focus on both "ethical as well as intellectual engagement". It also attempts to redefine the measures of achievement to reduce excessive pressure. “T
When I was area chairman for alumni admissions interviewing for Brown University, I often heard from people frustrated that highly talented students were being rejected. They asked “What does it take to get into a school like Brown?” A Brown admissions officer explained it this way: “Brown receives over 30,000 applications each year, many from students at the top of their class with near-perfect test scores and impressive leadership skills. We accept fewer than 10%, meaning w
In Part 1 I summarized Frank Bruni’s book "Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be". In this blog I'll offer my take on his assertions. I would restate the title of Bruni’s book as “What You Get Out is more important than Where You Get In”. Bottom line: an elite college doesn’t guarantee success, while a less-prestigious school doesn’t prevent it. Bruni's message is reassuring: college is what you make of it. Even if you don't get into the school of your dreams, all is not lost. If
This recent book "Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be" by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni is subtitled “An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania”. His message is that the pressure-filled competition to get into elite colleges is misplaced, unhealthy and unnecessary. Bruni relates many anecdotal examples of people who were rejected from their first-choice colleges yet went on to successful careers. And he submits that this outcome was achieved not in spite of, but in fac
The best-selling book “David and Goliath” by author Malcolm Gladwell is about the potential advantage of apparent disadvantages. In the title metaphor, was Goliath's size and skill in hand-to-hand combat an advantage or disadvantage vs. David's mobility and long-range weapon? When can perceived challenges work in your favor? It is also a promotion of the dynamic of “big fish/small pond”. Gladwell proposes that in choosing a college, it is often better to be a big fish in a sm
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