The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up on Educating Your Child and What You Can Do about It
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The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up on Educating Your Child and What You Can Do about It

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3.15 of 5 stars 3.15  ·  rating details  ·  62 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Colleges look much the same as they did five or ten years ago, but a lot has changed behind the scenes. While some mixture of study and play has always been part of college life, an increasing number of schools have completely abandoned the idea that students need to learn or demonstrate that they've learned. Financial pressures have made college administrations increasing...more
ebook, 236 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by Benbella Books (first published July 20th 2010)
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Christian
The core argument is not entirely without merit. Unfortunately, Brandon bogs things down with an almost constant stream of broad statements and generalizations and offers little or no clear data to back up his ideas. Much of what he does cite is merely other opinion pieces.

While I agree that many higher ed institutions have made regrettable compromises, and that these should be corrected, I'm not convinced that Brandon's hyperbole adds much value to the fray.

That said, I enjoy the more lucid par...more
Mary Ronan Drew
A good friend went off to college last fall and signed up for a major in Great Books with a minor in history. She started reading Plato and Euripides and studying early US history. Hmm, I thought, maybe the alarms about grade inflation, binge drinking on campus, extremely high college tuitions, lack of rigor in the curriculum, and other reports of how higher education is in trouble are being overstated.

So I poked around and found some books that purported to take the pulse of tertiary education...more
Blog on Books
It’s no secret that college tuition costs are at an all time high, but are you really getting what you paid for? Many parents are not so sure. Now, they can find out with the publication of an alarming new book, “The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up on Educating Your Child and What You Can Do About It.”

In it, education expert Craig Brandon describes a universe where hard learning has been replaced by fun times. Where professors are forced to dumb down classroom requirements in order t...more
Bojan Tunguz
The troubles that the higher education as a whole is finding itself in have been finding increasingly featured in the media and books in recent years. The exorbitant rise in tuition and other expenses, the ballooning college debt that has recently passed one trillion dollars, and the increasing irrelevance of college education in the modern workplace have all received a lot of attention lately. However, most of the accounts that I’ve come across focus on “good” schools – tope tier or close to to...more
Shay Gabriel
Full of statistics and facts, but a bit short on the deeper analysis. Brandon is quick to blame universities, administrators, professors, and students, but somehow misses the fact that most of the party schools he lists are state schools/public universities, while the more elite schools he mentions are private. In doing so, he both neglects a deeper acknowledgement of the purpose of state schools and totally misses the historical cause of the degradation of higher education: State disinvestment....more
Angel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cameron
Brandon has some valid points about the transformation of higher education - from learning and educationally focused to following a strict business model. However, he does not always communicate them in the most objective way and in turn sounds like a bitter, ex-faculty member at times. His tone demeaned many who are working to make the industry better and it devalued his argument at times (in my mind). I did appreciate his perspective, especially as someone who is invested in what Brandon calls...more
Anandh Sundar
As a full time on campus student at India's best Bschool, I have (luckily) not faced the horror stories outlined in the book about how USA universities are getting increasingly dumbed down. The author feels that because they are run like businesses with objective to please the customer('students'), universities have diluted their teaching and become degree mills where students are lured with the promise of '4/5' year vacations instead of actually studying. Unlike most other online rants, the aut...more
Qwerty
An uninspired jeremiad on the moral turpitude of college students. Discussions of serious issues such as sexual assault are marred by the use of questionable statistics and faulty logic, such as this one on page 97: "According to the definition of rape in most states, an intoxicated person cannot give consent to sex. So any victim who has sex while drunk is, by definition, a rape victim." Presumably, short of advising parents to steer clear of so-called party schools, the author would prefer to...more
Christine
Fantastic -- meshes with everything I've seen firsthand or heard about in higher ed. Meticulously researched; I wish I'd come across it while teaching Comp I -- it would have been an excellent "how to" manual for attribution (which my mostly disengaged students couldn't seem to grasp).
Wonderlandkat
This is sadly aimed at parents as a way to control their kids and nothing more. From someone at a state college, I expected more public policy and suggestions aimed at college students themselves rather than acting like they're dumb as oxen
Darin
I wish every one of my junior and senior parents would read this. "Going to college" does not mean now what it used to mean, and it certainly may not mean the same thing to your child. Read this and take it seriously.
Steve Labarge
Some very interesting data and perceptions. The author sounded overly bitter toward the academic establishment. As a parent of three students in Junior high and high school, the book certainly was eye opening.
Sarah
A sound and interesting premise gets a bit overwhelmed by some quite general statements and repetition of the titular line; I'm leaving off reading this for now, but might get back to it someday.
Lynn


Sad tale of the declining value of a college education. Sadly, many accumulate crushing debt to gain a product with diminishing returns. "What can't continue, won't" - Glenn Reynolds
Adrienne
A look at today's universities and what the real business is--retention instead of education. Pretty astounding observations.
Alan Yu
If you've got kids about to enter college, be very afraid. Not very well written, and pretty facile.
Carol
This book is a bit scary to read a week before sending a child off to a an out of state university.
AJ
This book was on a very interesting topic, and was unfortunately horribly written.
Ellen
I hated this book and everything it stands for.
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118241
The Wall Street Journal compared Craig's most recent book, The Five-Year Party" with Tom Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons" and it has been featured in The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Forbes, ABC News, CNN, the Chronicle of Higher Education and dozens of blogs and online journals.

He spent 20 years as a newspaper reporter, 12 as a college writing teacher and now spends all his time on book projec...more
More about Craig Brandon...
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