The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College

by Jacques Steinberg

Paperback, 2003

Status

Available

Publication

Penguin Books (2003), 336 pages

Description

In this revelatory book, Steinberg follows a college admissions officer and his eight counterparts through the daunting task of recruiting students nationwide, reading through each of their applications, and meeting behind closed doors to finalize the incoming class. In the process, he shows how the admission process at top colleges really works. (Education/Teaching). From the fall of 1999 to the spring of 2000, New York Times education reporter Jacques Steinberg was given unparalleled access to an entire admissions season at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. In that time, he discovered just how difficult it could be to winnow down a list of nearly seven thousand applicants to seven hundred freshmen for the class of 2004. Steinberg follows an admissions officer and his eight counterparts through the daunting task of recruiting students nationwide, reading through each of their applications, and meeting behind closed doors for a week in March to finalize the incoming class. He also recounts the personal experiences of a half dozen high school seniors of various ethnic and economic backgrounds as they struggle through the often byzantine selection process. Find out why: high SATs and many extracurricular activities are not always critical. A student's "story" can either be helpful or detrimental. One student with a 1480 SAT score and high grades can face stiff competition from another three thousand miles away whose board score is 900 and who has a handful of Ds on her report card. An officer peering into the application pool is often most excited to see a reflection of him-or herself staring back. The Gatekeepers is a suspenseful, highly readable account that moves from the applicant's high schools to the admissions office and back again to the student's homes, as the academic futures of thousands of young people hang in the balance.… (more)

Awards

Best Fiction for Young Adults (Selection — 2003)

Language

Original publication date

2002

User reviews

LibraryThing member karenzukor
Good description of now admissions works, how subjective the decisions are. However, not a how-to-get-in book.
LibraryThing member haebitchan
This is truly a fascinating book, from a collegiate standpoint. Being a college student with a prospect of transferring, I was attuned to the novel since many of the cases shed light upon a seemingly curious and ineffable admission system.

The previous comment is correct; this book is not a guide
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on how to score a spot in a premier college. Rather, it informs the readers on how certain outliers can amount to a contributing factor in the evaluating process. For example, race and socioeconomic status play a substantial factor in regarding the applicant's academic success and his caliber.

I was however impressed by the veracity and entranced by the writing style. The book is fluid and engaging, more to some than others however. The book stays true with reality by showing numerous instances of the applicants. The readers get to see what's hidden on the backstage. Truly an impressive piece :)
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LibraryThing member thebooky
This nonfiction book reads like a work of fiction. It's not cold and dry nor too factual. The author shadows a college admissions recruiter through the process at Wesleyan. Interjecting enough humanity into the decision making process. Whether you have vested interest in someone involved in the
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process of admission or not, this is a good read.
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Pages

336

Rating

½ (62 ratings; 3.7)
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