cover image Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania

Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania

Frank Bruni. Grand Central, $25 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4555-3270-4

With great energy and enthusiasm, New York Times columnist Bruni takes a pin to %E2%80%9Cour society's warped obsession with elite colleges" and provides a commonsense check to the yearly %E2%80%9Cadmissions mania" of students competing for coveted slots at top schools. In taking apart the %E2%80%9Clargely subjective" and %E2%80%9Cfatally flawed" rankings of U.S. News & World Report and reviewing the dearth of class diversity and %E2%80%9Clack of imagination" at the pinnacle of higher education, Bruni tosses a rock through the undeserved %E2%80%9Cveneration of elite schools" and celebrates the democratic insistence that a %E2%80%9Cgood student can get a good education just about anywhere." He fills the book with profiles of successful CEOs, politicians, entrepreneurs, and other known names to illustrate how self-starters turned their default school into a stepladder to success. Bruni's quick wit and slick style nimbly glosses over the systemic problems with American higher education and instead reassures floundering young adults and hand-wringing parents that college is and is not the most crucial years of a person's life, and that the true measure of success%E2%80%94%E2%80%9Cgreat careers and lives that matter"%E2%80%94is not bought with a diploma but built with %E2%80%9Ca robust and lasting energy for hard work." While Bruni's heartfelt argument ignores somewhat blissfully the deeper problems facing higher education, his insistence on an ideal liberal, humanistic college as a playground for the mind is a nostalgic and valuable contribution to the larger conversation. [em](Mar.) [/em]