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Fat Envelope Frenzy: One Year, Five…
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Fat Envelope Frenzy: One Year, Five Promising Students, and the Pursuit of…

by Joie Jager-hyman

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You can see, even without reading it, why a publisher would jump at the idea of this books: Former admissions officer for an Ivy League college follows the trials and tribulations of five very different high school seniors as the apply to Ivy League (and other) colleges. It should be fascinating. The problem is, it's not.

Jager-Hyman isn't particularly interested in the culture of the American high school, the sociology of high-achieving students, or the role of higher education in American culture. She isn't even particularly interested in using her background to give the reader the inside dope on the admissions process. She talks about the mechanics of it, but most of her observations are things that any reasonably savvy college-bound senior has already heard many times before: Be well-rounded; be different, but be yourself; grades aren't everything; alumni interviews probably don't matter much.

Instead, Jager-Hyman is interested in her five subjects, and therein lies the problem. They're nice kids, good kids, smart kids with potential to burn and glimmers of personality beneath their guarded and put-on-for-the-adults exteriors . . . but they never become more than that. Jager-Hyman isn't a skillful enough interviewer to get beneath the surface, and isn't a skillful enough writer to make the parts of them that she could see (having met them) and we can't come alive. So the book becomes a story with a familiar plot and five pleasant but not-quite-three-dimensional characters. Reading it is like doing an alumni interview of a bright, well-mannered high-school senior who's applying to your alma mater: You enjoy it while it's happening, and then (as the door closes) you realize that you have no clue who this kid really is or what makes their mind work and their heart beat faster. It was -- and the book is -- all smooth, highly polished surfaces and no complicated, messy depths. ( )
  ABVR | Nov 19, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061257168, Paperback)

A former Ivy League admissions officer, Joie Jager-Hyman follows five bright and eager high schoolers—students from diverse ethnic, social, and financial backgrounds—as they each put their best foot forward on the road they hope will lead them to the hallowed halls of Harvard University.

At once a remarkable true story of dedication, achievement, and heartbreak and a guide for success in an ultra-competitive environment, this important work deserves a place in the home of every family that has ever dreamed of receiving that coveted “fat envelope” in the mail. Jager-Hyman also offers a startlingly frank appraisal of the college admission process and the important roles race and class continue to play in a student's efforts to attend the best school possible.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:02 -0400)

A former Ivy League admissions officer, Joie Jager-Hyman follows five bright and eager high schoolers--students from diverse ethnic, social, and financial backgrounds--as they each put their best foot forward on the road they hope will lead them to the hallowed halls of Harvard University. At once a remarkable true story of dedication, achievement, and heartbreak and a guide for success in an ultra-competitive environment, this important work deserves a place in the home of every family that has ever dreamed of receiving that coveted "fat envelope" in the mail. Jager-Hyman also offers a startlingly frank appraisal of the college admission process and the important roles race and class continue to play in a student's efforts to attend the best school possible.--From publisher description.… (more)

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