New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has a new book out on the college admissions race, arguing that the process has become flawed by overemphasizing the admissions decisions of elite schools.
“A yes or no from Amherst or Dartmouth or Duke or Northwestern is seen as the conclusive measure of a young person’s worth, a binding verdict on the life that he or she has led up until that point … What madness. And what nonsense,” Bruni writes in the introduction to his book, titled “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania.”
As college admissions decisions come out, we reached out to Bruni for his advice for students who don’t get accepted into their dream school. Here’s what he said, via email:
Students who are rejected need to keep in mind a few important realities.
For starters, their chances, at many of the most selective schools, were under 10%, and if they weren’t legacy cases, recruited athletes or such, their chances were even less than that. And there’s a whole lot of happenstance and whim in the equation as well.
But more importantly, they need to keep in mind that equally fine educations exist elsewhere; that college, in the end, is what you make of it; and that qualities like resilience, perseverance, determination and cleverness aren’t the province of any one echelon of schools.
I’ve paid close attention to the educational biographies of successful people, and what I’ve seen in them — the only pattern — is how focused and flexible and energetic these people are. They used their opportunities well, and that was more pivotal than any Ivy League degree per se.
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