The Ivy Coach Daily

June 12, 2021

Too Many Books on College Admissions

Inside Higher Ed conducted quite a boring interview on what sounds like quite a boring book on college admissions.

Most books on the topic of elite college admissions are uninformative and, well, a snoozefest. And they’re typically anachronisms before they even hit shelves. For instance, a chapter on SAT Subject Tests isn’t exactly relevant these days now that SAT Subject Tests are no more. But sometimes the blurbs authors release about their books on college admissions or the interviews they conduct inspire us not to read the book before we even consider reading the book if you get what we mean. As a case in point, look no further than an interview we read today up on Inside Higher Ed with Susan F. Paterno, author of a new book on college admissions called Game On: Why College Admission Is Rigged and How to Beat the System.

As Scott Jaschik writes in his piece for Inside Higher Ed, “Susan F. Paterno is not a fan of college admissions. It favors the wealthy over the poor and good test-taking skills over being a good person, and the system’s many twists are invisible to most people, she says.” You don’t say? Wait, college admissions favors the wealthy over the poor? And water is wet? It gets worse. “As I shepherded my four children through college applications, I noticed that the admission landscape had changed drastically in recent years.” You don’t say? The college admissions process has changed? The sky is blue! “So many of us are in what admission executives call the ’unhooked’ category — we have no legal advantage that so many colleges confer.” Uhh, no. A hook in college admissions isn’t a legacy or recruited athlete card per se. Any applicant can be “hooked” — wealthy or poor. In fact, a poor applicant’s hook can be even more powerful! “Fewer than 60 colleges are test blind– meaning they refuse to consider test scores for admission and financial aid decisions. The rest — including test-optional schools — will continue to advantage high-scoring applicants to maintain or better their U.S. News & World Report ’Best Colleges’ ranking.” Well, that’s true! But you don’t need to buy the book to learn this factoid. We write about it nearly every week on the pages of this college admissions blog.

If America’s publishers released fewer books per year on college admissions that basically say nothing at all that’s interesting, the world would be better off. Instead, these publishers could earmark their budgets for romance novels, self-help books, and mesmerizing historical biographies. And just think of all the trees they could save if they just released fewer yet better books! So, publishers, save the trees. No more college admissions books. Save the trees, stop the admissions books. Save the cheerleader, save the world. Oh wait, that’s from Heroes.

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