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Admissions Confidential: An Insider's Account of the Elite College Selection Process
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Admissions Confidential: An Insider's Account of the Elite College Selection Process

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3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  17 reviews
There are hundreds of books available that coach kids on writing college application essays, improving SAT scores and trying to beat the admissions system. Admissions Confidential is a definitive look at why those books don't work. Toor lifts the veil on a process that anxious parents and high school students have never had decoded before. And they may be shocked to find o ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 17th 2002 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 162)
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Sarah
Interesting read into the inner workings of admissions offices of private colleges. Also, vaguely depressing when you realize the absolute futility of it all. Something excellent to give high school juniors and seniors to read.
Laura
If you're an ambitious parent looking for secrets to getting your child into the "right" schools, this is not the book for you. If you enjoyed "Race to Nowhere" and are concerned about high school kids becoming caught up in a rat race of activities pursued not out of passion, but out of fear of being left behind, then this glimpse into the somewhat arbitrary, all too imperfect system of college admissions will be intriguing. I admire the author's conscience, open-mindedness, awareness of privile ...more
Maria
This is a readable and okay little book with some interesting nuggets into the ruthlessness of the student selection process at a competitive college. The author, who worked at Duke University some ten years ago, tracks a year in her life in college admissions. Kinda. She reveals in the beginning that she has telescoped three years of work into one year in the name of creating a smooth narrative recreation of one admissions cycle.

I had two quibbles with the book. Ms. Toor interweaves pieces of h
...more
David
Acute insight into elite colleges; but more importantly I began musing on the power of the top universities, especially the ivy leagues. We attack conglomerates and have laws controlling them, not letting them hoard resources and wealth. Why shouldn't we do that with these universities who have the momentum of accumulated donations and investments to suck up much of what's left in the small pool of talented professors and students? Market forces should not be the model that higher education foll ...more
Maury
Feb 06, 2014 Maury added it
The book is now old (2001 publication date) and it has some bits and pieces that are particular to Duke's admissions. And many of the details of college admissions and high school life have changed. Don't rely on this book for nitty-gritty details of college admission!

It made for an interesting read. Between it and The Gatekeepers, you get a good view of the admissions process at highly selective colleges. I came away liking the author, and feeling even better about Yale (Toor's alma mater) and
...more
Robin
This book is over 10 years old so I am reading it more as Toor's memoir of her years working in elite college admissions than as any kind of advisory guide for the nervous parent.

I enjoy her style. (She's clearly kind of mad at the whole admissions world, though.) It's very telling that Toor, who got into her first choice college (Yale) leans towards the philosophy of not making such a god-awful big deal about attending the ivies. Though she was eager to attend Yale, and it almost certainly ope
...more
Joe Tynan
I have two kids in high school, one a senior this year, and this was informative. I also learned that I need to make sure they chill out a little through the whole process . . .

. . . me too, come to think of it.
Linda
Wish there were more people like Rachel in admissions.

"The youth of the university is one of the things that make it distinctive. In 1924, with $40 million dollars of tobacco money, James Buchanan Duke decided to create a research university out of what was originally a small regional college. So unlike our peers (we considered our "peers" to be Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT-though I wondered if they ever mentioned Duke in the same breath), all of whom strive to establish priority,
...more
Craig Lair
gripping and scary, but very cynical.
Allie
She gets a lot of things right!
Malinda
If you have ever had any ties to admissions, I think this is a great book to read. There are times when it will crack you up, remind you days gone by, and also make you thankful for ever surviving the admissions process, regardless of the school. Definitely worth reading.
Rose Mary Achey
An insiders account of the elite college selection process.
Erika
Nothing too surprising, having worked in 'the biz', but an easy, fun read for those entering this mania for themselves or their children.
Amanda
Interesting take on Duke Admissions - good inside look at the admissions process and the serendipity of the whole thing.
Shayna
Interesting insights, combined with Rachel Toor's excellent (as always) writing.
Anna
I liked this better than The Overachievers.
Laura
Interesting look behind the scenes.
Scholar
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Jan 18, 2015
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