Kris Hintz's Reviews > Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College

Crazy U by Andrew Ferguson
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's review
Mar 30, 2011

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bookshelves: college, education, parent-teen, parenting, nonfiction
Read in March, 2011

There is plenty to be cynical about in the college process, and Mr. Ferguson's dry, witty observatons do that approach justice. He gives authentic, insightful, and entertaining voice to the frustrations many parents feel when trying to guide their teenagers through the college process these days. I am concerned, however, that parents reading this book will be further discouraged about a process that is already pretty daunting. I wish that his book had included some more balanced and hopeful information.

To families in competitive, affluent communities, the college process must feel like a form of torture dreamed up by elite, marketing-savvy colleges or a conspiracy of avaricious college consultants. The truth is not so cloak-and-dagger. Plainly, baby boomers had babies, and they all became teenagers, in a society where a college degree is becoming more of a standard expectation than it once was, where technology allows students to apply to more college than in the past. Demand way outpaces supply now, and makes it much more difficult for even the most accomplished students to gain entry to elite colleges than "back in the day."

I am a college consultant, but my motivation is to humanize this stressful process, rather than to exploit parents' and students' anxiety or egos, like the consultants caricatured in Mr. Ferguson's book. The simple fact is, that there are 2500 or so accredited four year institutions in the USA, and there is a school out there that will meet just about every student's needs. There are many hard-working, principled guidance counselors and independent consultants who regard it as their mission to help students find the right match.

This book is fun, satirical commentary, but it should not stand alone. There are many straightforward, helpful, hopeful books on the market that are great resources to help students and families identify and gain admission to appropriate colleges.

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