Friday, August 26, 2011

Getting In: Bill Paul

My mom shared this book with me many years ago, a couple years after I'd gone through the college admissions process.  Through high school, I always viewed getting in to college as a very important game.  I knew what "winning" meant to me, and I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to do to ensure I got the admissions letters I wanted.  I strategized from the beginning of my freshmen year - I knew what classes I needed to take, what sports I wanted to play, and what other activities I would enjoy, but would also make the biggest impact on my application.  Getting In follows four similarly driven high-school students who dream of going to Princeton.  The author also interviews the Dean of Admissions at Princeton, Fred Hargadon, at length.  I am fascinated by the admissions process, and the grueling hours the admissions officers put in to review and re-review applications.  While I'm sure they sometimes make "mistakes," this book makes clear that they are meticulous in their duties, and that while certain types of people (legacies and athletes in particular) may receive preferential treatment in the process to some extent, it is most certainly a game - and you need to play your cards right to win. 

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