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JUNE 2015





f you’re a high school student

in the midst of taking SATs,

completing Advanced Place-

ment or International Bacca-

laureate classes and generally

stressing about college admis-

sions, Frank Bruni has a message for

you: Relax. Don’t think there’s only one

college that’s right for you. He also offers

this thought to keep in mind for the end

of the process: Welcome rejection.

Bruni, a

New York Times


has written on topics ranging from Ital-

ian food to George W. Bush. His latest

tome, Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admis- sions Mania , seems a strange book for

a childless author to pen, but despite

Francesca Kelly might herself be considered part of college admissions frenzy, coaching kids

on their college application essays. You can find her at

. A writer and

frequent contributor to the


, she’s also married to Ambassador Ian Kelly and has seen

four children through the college process.

with research, the book seeks to dispel

the myth that admission to an “elite”

college should be the only goal of our

children (and their parents). Instead,

the author demonstrates that success in

adulthood has to do with more impor-

tant factors than the college a student


Students and Families in a Race

Bruni admits right off the bat that

his book is aimed at those households

in which a premium has been placed

on higher education—sometimes for

generations. But let’s not forget that

large numbers of Americans simply go

to whichever public or state university

admits them. According to Bruni, that’s

actually a plan worth considering.

His intended audience—students

and their families in a race to get into

the “right” college—will likely include

many Foreign Service families, although

that—or perhaps because of it—he does

a fine job arguing for a sea change in the

way America regards college admission.

Filled with anecdotes and backed up

Frank Bruni Takes On

College Admissions


It’s not easy to keep one’s footing through the college admissions frenzy. In his new book,

journalist Frank Bruni offers perspective and balance that can help ease the process.