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The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions…

The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College

by Jacques Steinberg

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This book was highly entertaining--I even stayed up late to finish--but at the end I felt a little manipulated and soiled. So much was sloppy. What happened to the applicant in an early chapter who could sing and who got put in the "defer" pile? How much did the author make up, after hasty shallow interviews, about people's decision-making and their feelings about the college search? Because the whole thing felt a little bit off, a little bit forced, a little bit false. ( )
  poingu | Jan 29, 2015 |
Unlike other college books that are intended to be "how to's", The Gatekeepers puts human faces on both the kids and the college admissions personnel who have vested interests in the process. Beginning in 1999, Jacques Steinberg of the New York Times, was given unfettered access to both a select group of high school seniors and the admissions department of Wesleyan University. It is through their eyes that he observes the selection process for that year.
What is most moving about this book is that way that Steinberg shows us how agonizing and personal the process is for both sides of this process. Steinberg is a terrific writer and gives us the back stories of each "character". In doing so, his book makes for captivating reading. We want to know more about these individuals.I found myself rooting for some of these kids as they begin to struggle for a place in the world. More than anything else, the book reinforces that this is a very human process, in which individuals on both sides of the "gate" bring his or her own hopes and dreams.
By shining a very personal light on the applications process, the book also underscores the more universal concerns of both colleges and and students including access to education and the issue of fairness in the process.
I don't know that I would have read the book if the issue wasn't something that was close to home right now, but it is a compelling read and there were many occasions when I had to control the lump in my throat.
The edition of the book I read contains an afterword that updates us on all the individuals who were profiled (both the admissions personnel and the students) and after we had come to know these people during this fixed time period of their lives, it was heartwarming to read about their place in the world today. ( )
  plt | Mar 22, 2013 |
This nonfiction book reads like a work of fiction. It's not cold and dry nor presented too factually. 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 process of admission or not, this is a good read. ( )
  thebooky | Sep 26, 2012 |
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 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 :) ( )
  haebitchan | Aug 29, 2011 |
Good description of now admissions works, how subjective the decisions are. However, not a how-to-get-in book. ( )
  karenzukor | Jul 18, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142003085, Paperback)

In the fall of 1999, New York Times education reporter Jacques Steinberg was given an unprecedented opportunity to observe the admissions process at prestigious Wesleyan University. Over the course of nearly a year, Steinberg accompanied admissions officer Ralph Figueroa on a tour to assess and recruit the most promising students in the country. The Gatekeepers follows a diverse group of prospective students as they compete for places in the nation's most elite colleges. The first book to reveal the college admission process in such behind-the-scenes detail, The Gatekeepers will be required reading for every parent of a high school-age child and for every student facing the arduous and anxious task of applying to college.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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)

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