Beyond the College Admins Race

Beyond the College Admins Race

The cover of the book Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be by Frank Bruni. This book shows a different perspective to college admissions.
The cover of the book Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be by Frank Bruni. This book shows a different perspective to college admissions.


As a part of his book tour for “Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be,” Frank Bruni made a stop at Walt Whitman HS on April 27. He talked to parents and young students about the college admissions process and higher education in general.

Bruni’s message was not the standard college speech that students typically hear from adults, especially not in rigorous Montgomery County. Instead, he was telling students that it was acceptable not to attend the top-tier colleges in the U.S. He preached that if you get rejected from schools, it is not the end of the world.

He explained that even Bob Morris, the man that runs the very popular college rankings on U.S. News & World Report, told him “Ita��’s not where you went, it’s about how hard you worked.”

Bruni talked about how at the Ivy League schools have very little diversity. “It’s important to run into different people to broaden our horizon which many top schools can’t give our kids,” local mother Maria Caudron said

Bruni also discussed that the college process is becoming too stressful and the stress is unnecessary. Choosing a college has now become a business. He talked about how today many families hire people to help their children write admissions essays, fill out their applications and prepare for the SAT’s and ACT’s. “The message that the kid hears is, “I can’t do it on my own,a��” Bruni said.

He also described that the Ivy league schools and other top-tier universities have made their applications easier and more accessible than they used to be. This is only to make their acceptance rate very low. The more students that apply, the more students they can reject.

Another one of his major points was that nowadays we are sending kids the message that all that matters is getting into a major college or university. We are no longer encouraging learning and pushing kids to be hungry for learning, but instead making them do well on tests and memorize information only to get accepted into an elite university.

“It’s like learning isn’t even a part of it anymore. We just have to get the grades to get into a good school,” Whitman junior Wil Caudron said.

Bruni closed his presentation with facts and stories of people who had become very successful without elite or any college education. For example, he said that 75 percent of U.S. senators did not attend a selective college and that 60 percent of governors did not either. He later went on to explain stories of young men and women who now work for top companies who also did not attend highly selective institutions because they were rejected.

“Not everyone blooms at the same time,” Bruni said. “There is no use in forcing everyone down the same path. Especially if they are not yet ready.”