We’re on Book Three of the College Admissions/Payment Tour, and today’s selection is Bill Paul’s Getting In.
In the book, Paul, a former Wall Street Journal Reporter and Princeton alumnus, goes back and forth between then-Dean Fred Hargadon and his admissions staff at Princeton-in an interesting side note, Hargadon served one of the last of his 16 years in the same position at Stanford the spring that I gained admission there-and five students as they go through their senior years in search of their coveted spot at one of the nation’s elite colleges.
The result is an uneven but generally informative read.
Paul makes certain points about how Hargadon and others in similar institutions around the country pick superstars first-this includes published authors, founders of Habitat for Humanity chapters, young people living under viaducts while maintaining a killer G.P.A., Everest climbers and so on-and then work their way through the rest of the ever-increasing applicant pool. Paul also discusses the importance of the student essay and interview, the attempt to create a coherent whole, and the stress that guidance counselors try to alleviate on the young applicants and their families.