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Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
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Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,392 ratings  ·  431 reviews
Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no.

That belief is wron
Kindle Edition, 225 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Grand Central Publishing
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4.02  · 
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 ·  2,392 ratings  ·  431 reviews

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May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college-smart
I really loved *MOST* of the message of this book.

The angst that many student feel about gaining admissions to the 20 or 50 "lottery schools" is counter-productive and harmful. Students can certainly get a great education at any number of colleges that aren't hailed by US News and World Report as the "Top" colleges. I have visited a number of campuses that have a huge impact on students without being hyper-selective. I love those campuses and encourage my students to explore the opportunities a
Marcia (Trendy Simple Life)
This was a very informative book and one that I needed in order to start preparing navigating the college admission's route for my daughter. I liked the fact that the author presented facts and stats backing up most of his chapters. Obviously, there's no cookie-cutter recipe for success, but I feel a lot less nervous now that I read this book.
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I am fascinated with universities and colleges and where kids decide to go to school, how they hear about schools, and the quest to get into the "best" school. When I was deciding on my own secondary education I didn't have this mentality at all. I was lucky enough just to continue my education and then even better, to go on to graduate school. I attended two public universities, both which got me where I am today and I am grateful for the education. The title of this book is apt and it is exact ...more
Sep 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I believe the premise of this book is that your college choice doesn't dictate how successful you will be in life and that colleges don't determine worth. Now with that being said, I think that some colleges can open up opportunities to their students that others cannot.

I have three kids in college, next year it will be 4. Some of my kids love school and thrive in that environment and go to well-known universities and I have one that hates school and would just shrivel up in that high pressure
Christopher Lawson

WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU’LL BE goes against everything you’ve been told about college—i.e., do anything you can to get your son or daughter into the absolute BEST university you can. Getting into a top university is like the ultimate report card. When you get that "A" it means, "You have arrived!" So, take practice SAT tests, hire tutors; talk to alumni--in short, DO ANYTHING! Try for Harvard or Yale—or maybe Stanford. Of course, one need h
If you have a high school student, then you're probably aware of how competitive it is to get into college. Everyone has a story about a straight A student with 2400 SATs who got rejected from an elite school. People will rant about how crazy the college admissions process is -- how even the best students are getting rejected by schools that just decades ago, people hadn't even heard of. But do you want to know what is really crazy? It's the things people will do to try to increase their chances ...more
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have spent my entire career working in college admissions, mostly at highly selective institutions. I do like this book, or at least what Bruni is trying to get across, and I even recommend it to families with kids heading into the college admission process. While it is essentially a synthesis of information readily available elsewhere, I am not aware of any other book which has pulled all this together, and that is a plus for Bruni. I also know a number of school counselors who are urging the ...more
Eva Thieme
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As the parent of a high school senior about to go off to college and having to make a smart choice as to where to go, I found this book incredibly timely. It sends a message I thought I knew yet need to hear again and again: that for some reason we value the brand name of a university, the "elite factor," much higher than it should be valued if we rationally looked at all the factors important in school choice.

Frank Bruni is so talented in getting this message across. He presents us with dozens
kav (xreadingsolacex)
I think the premise of this book was great - the pressure to go to the *perfect* college is one many teens suffer from and dissecting that is important. However, I found the book very repetitive and it wasn't really a read I enjoyed the process of reading.

Note: It brings up eating disorders and self-harm without a trigger warning, so be aware of that.
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wish someone recommended this book during Andrews sophomore or junior year in HS. Would have saved us all a lot of grief. A must read for any poor sucker about ready to enter the lions den unarmed.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
As an educator and as a parent of a high school junior, this book was very useful for me. I knew the college admissions process was scandalous before the celebrity bribe story of March 2019, but I'm still glad I read this to understand it a little more deeply. Bruni doesn't offer advice for finding a good college fit, but that's o.k. The purpose of this book is to share just how and why the college admissions world has become so crazy, and to show that you will be o.k., and perhaps even better o ...more
Carmen Liffengren
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's no doubt that the college admissions process has spiraled out of control. After reading Meg Mitchell Moore's novel The Admissions earlier this year which satires the whole college admissions craziness at its core, Bruni gave me much to ponder about college acceptance. My oldest child is about to start his senior year this August, we are about to jump into this stressful process ourselves.

Ultimately, Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be is about exploring more college options outside of the
Kara Bachman
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice wake-up call for those spending tremendous time and resources on reaching for the ivy league. Eye-opener of a book that dispels the myth that ivy league schools CREATE greatness. The author essentially shows -- and backs it up with data when need be -- how graduates of elite schools succeed because of advantages they had in place BEFORE ending up there, and because of social connections made, and NOT because of the quality of the education.

Bruni essentially explains how kids who aren't from
May 07, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Point: There are pockets of excellence in many colleges, some obscure but most are easy to find. Expand your search beyond the highest-ranked colleges.

Good Advice: Make the most of your college experience by following your passion and joy. Work with a mentor.

Boring Stories: How famous people experienced their college years (as if they were my role models! Who cares!)

Bad Analysis: The author, an English major, should avoid using numbers to compare the relative success of Ivy League c
Lance Eaton
The most important statement I can say about this book is that every student should read this book in their freshmen or sophomore year of high school--yes, high school. Bruni's exploration into 3-Card Monte structure that is higher education when it comes to seducing students should be understood by all students as it has many long-term implications for them. Throughout the book, Bruni systematically breaks down the traditional mindset to aspire to elite colleges, noting how success in getting i ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Where You Go does a good job of debunking the myth that you need to attend an Ivy league school to be successful in business or government. A less prestigious school can be just as good according to the author. Success depends more on ability and effort. The book is a good read for high scholl juniors and seniors thinking of attending college and their parents. This was a few advance read, review copy.
Connie Mayo
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for all parents of high school students. The affluent tier of this country has gone crazy for college pedigrees, and it just doesn't punch your ticket like you might think. PLEASE let this book be an indicator of a trend toward more level headed thinking!
Kris Gallagher
Jul 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for both parents and students as they enter the college search process. Bruni effectively debunks the ratings game and deftly describes what really matters to students and their future lives (not just careers).
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An expanded op-ed that didn't need to be.
Carol Storm
Lots of happy talk about kids who don't get into Ivy League schools and turn out to be wonderfully successful and dynamic individuals. No real talk about what undergraduate life at an Ivy League college (or any college) is really like. No binge drinking, no drug abuse, no sexual abuse, no racism, no ethnic prejudice, no class prejudice, no sexism, no rape. The perpetually upbeat author wastes no time on legitimate concerns about making a living, instead kids are "playfully" ridiculed for missing ...more
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read, but I did not agree with some of it. Of course, where you go to college does not determine who you will be. Of course, the amount that you take advantage of your college's resources and options, the more you will get out of your college experience. Of course, there are many routes and paths to the same places of success. Of course, tenacity can overcome late blooming. Bruni gives examples of all of these. But I think he is also pushing a lot of stereotypes and generalizatio ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Other than how the book dragged on in various parts of the book, this was a great insight into the college admissions system. All in all, the college system is rigged, but students don't know that, so many end up stressing themselves out in order to attend brand-name schools. This book also debunks the myth that one cannot find success anywhere else such as public universities or community colleges. If you really want a thorough analysis about how success isn't linear, and success is what you ma ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
During my first year as a college counselor I kept asking myself why I was encouraging my students to participate the ups and many downs of the college admissions process.

Reading this book, I was almost ready to quit my job, but the very last chapter made all the difference. This quote will stay with me "...and in the end, they all go to college, and their lives are changed"

It's true. Going to college changed my life. I still think those were the best years of my life. If I can help anyone sta
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every parent should read this book! I look back at my choices for myself, the path I encouraged my daughter to follow, and the young people in my world. The ever increasing laser focus on college, has left curiosity and self exploration in the dust. Kids are not allowed to create, explore, discover in an undirected setting. Play, trial and error, are valuable teachers. We would be wise as adults and mentors to encourage our students to explore their passions instead of competing to fit into a ve ...more
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book and just having it on my shelf is a good feeling! I like the writing of Frank Bruni, but this book isn't written for me. I'm already in Bruni's camp and while I've given it a speed read, I haven't felt the need to spend too much time reading examples to support the thesis. It's a book to pass along and I am grateful it's out there!! It should be summer reading for advancing Seniors in high school.
Andy Lange
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book on the ridiculousness of our obsession with prestige in regard to higher education. Why do we perceive the number of students that a college refuses to admit to be one of the strongest factors in the quality of the institution? I would strongly recommend this to any high school student who is too wrapped up in the pursuit of prestige when searching for a college.
Cathy Kanaday
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This kept me sane (though my child might disagree) during the college search process for my son.
Alison Kenney
Let me save you some time. The title of the book says it all. Really, no need to hear it over and over again in every chapter.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“College has no monopoly on the ingredients for professional success or for a life well lived.”
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. Trying to avoid the mass hypnosis as the parent of a 7th grader...some good statistics to be found here. I will need to remind myself that I read this in about 4-5 years' time. Gosh I am glad we homeschool.
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Frank Bruni was named restaurant critic for The New York Times in April 2004.

Before that, Mr. Bruni had been the Rome bureau chief from July 2002 until March 2004, a post he took after working as a reporter in the Washington D.C. bureau from December 1998 until May 2002. While in Washington, he was among the journalists assigned to Capitol Hill and Congress until August 1999, when he was assigned
“My fear is that these kids are always going to be evaluating their self-worth in terms of whether they hit the next rung society has placed in front of them at exactly the time that society has placed it. And that’s dangerous, because you’re going to slip and fall in your life.” 8 likes
“College is a singular opportunity to rummage through and luxuriate in ideas, to give your brain a vigorous workout and your soul a thorough investigation, to realize how very large the world is and to contemplate your desired place in it.” 6 likes
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