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An August of books about college: debt, athletics, and getting in

Forget about “if it’s Sunday, it’s Meet the Press.” For the next month, it should be “if it’s Tuesday, it must be a new book on higher ed.”

The summer always provides time for a respite to read—and this summer in particular is one where hopefully we’re all taking off a bit more time to relax and catch-up with family and friends. I’m taking off more time than usual, which is why this newsletter is being delivered to your in-box less frequently until September.

If you’re into non-fiction, have kids in the college search or going off to college, or work in and around campuses, this is the month for books about higher ed.

I’ve read four of the seven books listed below. I’ll be writing a lot more about many of them in the coming months.

First, a few announcements…

? Giveaways. I’m giving away free copies of these new books in August, with an added bonus: a copy of the revised hardcover edition of my book, Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions, which comes out this fall. Details to come on Instagram, so follow me there for details.

? NEXT on LinkedIn Live returns in two weeks. Join me as I interview newsmakers, authors, admissions deans, and people in higher ed.

  • August 12 at Noon ET: Aviva Legatt, author of Get Real and Get In: How to Get Into the College of Your Dreams by Being Your Authentic Self.
  • August 19 at Noon ET: EdSurge reporter Jeff Young, host of the limited-run podcast series Bootstraps, which looks at some of the popular myths and assumptions of education.
  • Follow me LinkedIn to get notifications when we’re live.

? College admissions group. My friends at Grown & Flown have started a paid membership group for parents navigating the college admissions process. It offers live sessions with experts and a community of parents to help answer your questions about getting in and paying for college.

? Events. My fall and winter calendar is filling up with virtual and in-person book talks and workshops for high school parent groups and college counselors interested in professional development related to my book, as well as college leaders and trustees interested in the future of higher education after the pandemic. Reach out if you’re interested in learning more.

Books: Debt, Athletics, and Getting In

The Story of Student Debt
The Story of Student Debt

On sale: August 3. The Debt Trap: How Student Loans Became a National Catastrophe.

The author, Josh Mitchell, and I have been talking about this book since he started reporting it a few years ago and I had the chance to read the manuscript last spring. I compare this to The Big Short, the Michael Lewis book about the housing crisis. Much like that book, Mitchell, who is a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, traces the history of how student loans turned from a government program dreamed up in the Sputnik era to a spigot of easy money for undergrads, parents, and grad students that have allowed colleges to easily raise their tuition rates year after year.

Getting In By Being Yourself
Getting In By Being Yourself

On sale: August 3. Get Real and Get In: How to Get Into the College of Your Dreams by Being Your Authentic Self

I also had the opportunity to read this book in advance and it reminded me of all the students I met while reporting Who Gets In and Why. So many of those teenagers tried to guess at what colleges wanted instead of doing what made them happy in high school and presenting that authentic story in their application. Through exercises and stories from influential people, this book by Aviva Legatt, who worked at the University of Pennsylvania and is now an admissions consultant, helps students identify and achieve their longer term goals rather than just focus on jumping through another hoop in life—getting into the “right” college.

Admissions Tales from an Insider
Admissions Tales from an Insider

On sale: August 3. Valedictorians at the Gate: Standing Out, Getting In, and Staying Sane While Applying to College

The author, Becky Munsterer Sabky, is a former director of international admissions at Dartmouth College and provides anecdotes from her time on the inside with tips about making the most of the college search and application process.

Racial Inequality in Higher Ed
Racial Inequality in Higher Ed

On sale: August 10. The State Must Provide: Why America’s Colleges Have Always Been Unequal—and How to Set Them Right

When we talk about the history of segregation and integration in education, the focus is often on K-12 schools. Adam Harris, a writer at The Atlantic, examines the history of what happened when colleges were supposedly integrated last century and higher ed’s failed attempts at equality ever since. 

Tutoring the Elite
Tutoring the Elite

On sale: August 17. I Left My Homework in the Hamptons: What I Learned Teaching the Children of the One Percent

The author, Blythe Grossberg, is a full-time learning specialist who has also tutored students at New York City’s top private schools. This book is Grossberg’s tale of the 15 years of working with those families and their efforts to get into selective colleges.

The Myth of Amateurism
The Myth of Amateurism

On sale: August 27. Discredited: The UNC Scandal and College Athletics’ Amateur Ideal

I read the proof of this book in the spring before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the NCAA can’t bar modest payments to student-athletes. Now this book by Andy Thomason, an assistant managing editor at The Chronicle of Hgiher Education, is even more relevant. It examines through the eyes of four participants one of the biggest scandals in the history of college athletics: fake classes that were offered by UNC-Chapel Hill to athletes in order to keep them eligible to play. As I wrote in my blurb for the book, “even diehard fans of college sports will question their obsession after reading…this tale about the modern machinery that runs big-time athletics on campuses.”

A Companion for the College Search
A Companion for the College Search

On sale: September 28. The Truth about College Admission Workbook: A Family Organizer for Your College Search

I’ve long recommended the precusor to this workbook, The Truth about College Admission by Brennan Barnard, the director of college counseling at The Derryfield School, and Rick Clark, the director of undergraduate admission at Georgia Tech. I found the activities and exercises in this workbook incredibly useful to helping students and families go beyond the rankings to find colleges that are both a good fit and where they can get in.


Mixed Feelings on Post-Covid College
Mixed Feelings on Post-Covid College www.thirdway.org

The third in a series of surveys by New America and Third Way about how current and future college students think about higher ed and the changes brought on by the pandemic. The good news in the latest survey is that students believe the worst of the pandemic is over. This optimism about the pandemic, however, does not translate into increased positivity towards higher ed.

How 20-Somethings Landed their Dream Jobs
How 20-Somethings Landed their Dream Jobs www.linkedin.com

Relationships are the key to a successful job hunt for 20-somethings, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal. But no one really teaches students how to network. On LinkedIn, I shared some advice I give to college students about how to network. Please add any advice you might have.

The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off
The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off www.wsj.com
Lured by the aura of degrees from top-flight institutions, many master’s students at universities across the U.S. took on debt beyond what their pay would support, an analysis of federal data on borrowers found.

Can Microinternships Melp More Women Break Into Tech?
Can Microinternships Melp More Women Break Into Tech? workshift.opencampusmedia.org
Women students studying computer science weren’t getting hired for the critical summer internships that lead to jobs—so an enterprising organization decided to redesign the entryway.

Until next time, Cheers — Jeff

To get in touch, find me on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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