New York Times op-ed columnist Bruni (Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater, 2009, etc.) shows why rejection by an Ivy League college need not be a disaster and may even be a blessing.
The author attributes the frenzy attached to college admission to the emphasis on branding and privilege, which increasingly characterize our society as the income gap widens. All too often, admission to a top college becomes a goal in itself while the quality of a well-rounded education takes second place. There are many hurdles to be overcome, beginning as early as preschool. Prowess in sports, community service and other extracurricular activities are items for the student's resume along with high grades and test scores. Only after winning a place in an elite institution can the student afford to relax. “The sale is more important than the product,” writes Bruni, who presents several cases, including his own experience, to show how being rejected by the top rung may be a blessing in disguise. Getting an education off the charted path can be a life-changing experience. Forced out of their comfort zones, students may become more self-reliant, more flexible and able to succeed, and they may get a better education to boot. The author takes the University of Arizona as an example. It offers a high-quality education with a faculty that includes two Nobel laureates, five Pulitzer Prize winners and more.
Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions.