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Getting In

3.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  233 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews

Q: What does a parent need to survive the college application process?

A. A sense of humor.
B. A therapist on 24-hour call.
C. A large bank balance.
D. All of the above.

Getting In is the roller-coaster story of five very different Los Angeles families united by a single obsession: acceptance at a top college, preferably one that makes their friends and neighbors green wit

Paperback, 406 pages
Published 2010 by Hyperion Voice
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Jan 30, 2011 Kim rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. It reminded me of when I was a private college advisor in an elite county and it reminded me why I stopped being a private college advisor in that county and instead decided to move to work at a Charter School in a small town where it's a huge deal if many of my students decide to go to a two year school. To me, this book did such a wonderful job of capturing "the world" that so many families get sucked into believing is the only world in relation to ...more
Apr 26, 2010 Theresa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults
With one child that just entered college and another starting the process, this book was very easy to identify with. It was a fun and quirky read that I really enjoyed. No, my children aren't going to the elite private colleges, and this makes me appreciate how little I had to deal with through the process we did go through. (Man, and I thought that was bad!)

Getting In is a great book for anyone that has children looking at going to college, starting the process, are in, or have graduated. It's
Apr 30, 2011 Carmen rated it it was ok
Reading on a strong recommendation from a colleague...

A fine specimen of intense helicopter parenting and the competitive college admissions process. I really disliked this book, but I read it to the end hoping for some sort of payoff, which was foolish because the signs were there right from the beginning. These kids come off as very spoiled and self-obsessed, the parents come off as indulgent and self-obsessed. The characters are largely stock, and there are pop culture references littered gen
Feb 27, 2012 Maryann rated it it was ok
This book took far too long to finish, mostly because it just seemed so... snooty? conjectured? I'm not sure, exactly, but I didn't like it. And it didn't redeem itself by the end. This is a good idea for a plot- the pressure parents and high school seniors put on themselves to get into college- but it ended up being about money and privilege and not at all about "real life" as I know it. I couldn't connect with the characters and frequently lost track of who was who. Not good. Not impressed.
Kat Walter
Feb 07, 2016 Kat Walter rated it really liked it
Tense, painful, stressful novel for any parent who has lived through or is experiencing the college application process. Begins with SATs and ends with acceptances, rejections and wait lists. And then the financial aid story begins...I'm finally done with it all; glad I didn't read books like this before/during the process itself. The problem for the cut throat prep schools and their parents is that there are only 10-15 "acceptable " schools and thousands of qualified applicants seeking those co ...more
Aug 15, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: chicklit, college
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 30, 2010 Cheryl rated it liked it
For Nora being a mother was the easy part. Preparing her daughter Lauren for the SATs and helping her find a really good college was another story. Nora didn’t realize there were so many different factors to consider in the equation like…hiring a tutor, distance versus notoriety of one college over the other. All Nora wants is for her daughter, Lauren to be happy and get into a good college. SATs, ACTs, grants, loans…all these things are Greek to Nora but she is willing to try her hardest to stu ...more
Apr 10, 2013 Carin rated it really liked it
I love books about college admissions. If I didn't work in book publishing, I would work in college admissions somehow, probably as a high school guidance counselor. I even applied to and got into graduate programs for that, but while waiting for my own admissions, I got my first job in the world of books and didn't look back.

This book tells the story of five seniors in Los Angeles worrying about colleges and the future, and their families. Three go to a prep school, a fourth used to until her p
Jul 01, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it
Upon the arrival of a new baby, parents may begin to sock some money away in a college fund for 18 years in the future. With Harvard's cost for 2010-2011 estimated (on their own website) to be $50,724 for tuition, room, board, and fees, parents are going to need a lot of socks!

Getting In is a fictional story (but very true at many high schools) of students, parents, and guidance counselors working around the clock to gain admittance to competitive colleges. The sad reality is that one blown test
Nov 08, 2014 Myos rated it it was ok
I'm disappointed. I love this type of books, but this one didn't work. The characters are almost all insufferable or obnoxious, none are described with sympathy except perhaps for Joel and Nora, and the immigrant engineer turned taxi driver, Yoonie his wife, and their daughter. Even them weren't fully fleshed out - there are 5 seniors and 5 sets of parents, plus the guidance counselor, so that's over a dozen people to keep track of, none of whom are overly nice.
Oct 22, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
I actually quite enjoyed this book.

As a college student myself, I found it to be quite funny how obsessed these parents were with the colleges their kids plan to go to. As a Californian, i also found it funny how looked down upon UC's are with the private school crowd. I went to public school and getting into a UC was considered to be a big accomplishment. This book provided an interesting glimpse into the world of college applications.
Sue Seligman
Apr 04, 2010 Sue Seligman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone at any stage in the college app process
Recommended to Sue by: found it in Barnes and Noble
Just finished this book...very quick read about how the college application process is stressful for both kids and parents. This is a novel about five students and their parents in Californis who are experiencing the process from the SATs during junior year all through the senior year events...early decision, regular decision, etc. The guidance counselor is also depicted as a master negotiator among college admissions officers as well as parents who use money and influence to obtain their goals. ...more
Jun 09, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
I thought this might tend toward chick lit, but had seen it on the lists of some reputable book rec sites, so decided to give it a try. I thought it was quite well-written and engaging. I read a simliar novel last spring -- kids angling to get into prestigious Ivy League universities -- but it was written from the point of view of a college admissions counselor (the author having been one herself). This was strictly from the POV of the families and students themselves. The author included five d ...more
Meagan Houle
May 05, 2014 Meagan Houle rated it it was ok
This is a dense, rather lengthy read. It deals mostly with the immense pressures students face when entering into postsecondary education in the US, so if that doesn't interest you, this is not for you. I thought it well-written and interesting, but was less than enamoured with any of the characters and was glad to finish the book.
Jul 03, 2012 Debbie rated it it was amazing
A great book for any parent of children nearing the college application phase. In the book, we follow a handful of elite, over achieving high schoolers as they go after their dream colleges. I love how the author lets us sympathize with all the characters - we understand the students and what they want, the parents and what they hope for for their kids (often very different from the kid's plans), and even the faculty/guidance counselors who have their own set of agendas. The book is funny yet tr ...more
Nov 05, 2014 Zoe rated it really liked it
Quirky book about the college application process taken to the extreme. I'm hoping that reading it several years before we start the process will put it in the right perspective. these fictional families are "over the top"... at least I hope so!
Kathleen Jasaitis
Jan 04, 2014 Kathleen Jasaitis rated it really liked it
Having spent most of my professional life teaching and working with high schoolers, and supporting many of them through the college admission process, this was a dead-on reflection of how it all works. Most of the characters are more like caricatures, too extremely likable or unlikable to be believable. However, I loved the underlying theme that there are no guarantees when it comes to college admissions, and that perfect scores or grades are less relevant than most people think when it comes to ...more
Jul 04, 2014 KeAnne rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2014
Too long and I found it difficult to care about privileged, wealthy students whining about which out-of-state private school they wanted to or didn't want to attend.
Mar 24, 2015 Anna rated it liked it
i picked this up because it was on sale of r $1, and i think it was good enough. it was a cte read and just something to me smiling a little but. its ok,ayy
Sierra the Nerdgirl
I am DNFing yet another book. (it's weird I've never DNFed so many books before) This is boring and I don't understand what's the plot or endgoal
Mar 28, 2014 Aja rated it liked it
Great writing but insufferable characters. If I lived around any of these people I would make fun of them relentlessly.
Jan 22, 2013 Laurel rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if a literary critic would acknowledge that there is a genre out there that encompasses tales of getting into college. If there is such a genre, then this novel belongs in this realm. It is mostly about rich kids- hard to feel any empathy for their plight (oh yes- there is the stereotypical first generation Asian student who goes to the local public high school and tutors the rich kids). Most of the characters in this book were unlikeable. Which makes this a fun beach read if you ar ...more
Apr 27, 2010 Teri marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-read-fiction
Heard Karen Stabiner speak at the 2010 LA Times Festival of Books. She was on a panel discussing Fiction-Forging Ahead. She was very articulate and I enjoyed hearing her insightful comments. She signed my book afterward. She saw me (eight months pregnant) and said that it would be awhile til I have to worry about "this." The book is about parents, children and the college application process. It was very nice to chat with her for a few minutes about the joys of having a daughter.
Nov 20, 2013 Jessica rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book, but I didn't become as invested in the characters. It was interesting to see a much more intense view on college applications compared to my experience. (Then again, maybe I'm far away enough from the whole thing to not remember the stress?) While I can't relate to the experiences of these characters, it nonetheless made me nostalgic for my high school/college years.
Jan 08, 2013 Marisa rated it really liked it
who remembers the pressure of trying to pick a college? I do. My parents were really great about not putting too much on me, just making sure that I applied where there were classes I would be interested in, a safe environment and a fairly reasonable tuition. I dont have children but know that this must be a very stressful time for parents.!
Kristen Davis
Sep 15, 2013 Kristen Davis rated it it was ok
I read this book hoping it would be a fun, breezy read but honestly there are just too many characters to remember and I often was mixing them up. Maybe it just wasn't what I was in the mood for but it seemed pretty cliche and predictable. The story seemed to carry on a bit too long and I got very disinterested with it.
Nov 02, 2011 Alicia rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
A fun, well-written book about (for the most part) highly privileged kids and their wealthy families obsessing about getting into the right college. A good book for families in similar situations who need to laugh at themselves - but not for everyone by any stretch!
Gavin Atlas
Oct 03, 2010 Gavin Atlas rated it it was amazing
For someone interested in college admissions, this is a great read. While I had trouble keeping some of the adults straight in my head, the five stories interwoven work well. The seniors mostly get what they deserve which is satisfying.
Jul 20, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Great book that I am sure many of us can relate to. I enjoyed this as a summer read and it was well written. I typically recommend this book when friends as what to read. Great if you have just graduated high school.
The overall message was nice, but the book was too long and the mix of characters too complicated for my liking. They were also pretty stereotyped, IMO, which didn't make for the most interesting / unique read.
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Karen Stabiner's work has appeared in Saveur, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Vogue, and Travel + Leisure.
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