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68

JUNE 2015

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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT

FS students who are overseas, thank-

fully, dodge some of the stateside admis-

sions mania.

In the United States, the situation

has become so frenzied that, in some

families, the pressure to go to a certain

Ivy League or other prestigious school

has been present before the child in

question is even born. Bruni interviews

a distraught parent whose 3-year-old did

not get admitted to a high-end New York

preschool because she didn’t think to

prep him before the admissions event.

It is into this overheated atmosphere

that Bruni introduces an idea that is not

new, but is still commonly disregarded:

What if someone told you that you

could go to one of many dozens, even

hundreds of U.S. colleges, get a great

education and end up after graduation

following the same career path as Yale

and Harvard grads?

The author primarily wants to dis-

courage the thinking among students

that there is only one perfect college for

them—the one in the Ivy League or at

Ivy League level, or the one that their

parents went to 30 years ago, or the one

that

U.S. News & World Report

ranks in

the top 10.

The Benefits of Being Turned

Down

In fact, says Bruni, not only is it virtu-

ally impossible to get into the top-tier

schools, but those institutions don’t

necessarily offer anything that can’t be

found at other, less selective and often

less expensive schools. He opens his

narrative with several anecdotes about

students who had their hearts set on Ivy

Bruni primarily wants to discourage the

thinking among students that there is

only one perfect college for them.