Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be

An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
Narrated by: Frank Bruni
Length: 5 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (320 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 wrong. It's cruel. And in Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be, Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety it provokes.

Bruni, a best-selling author and a columnist for the New York Times, shows that the Ivy League has no monopoly on corner offices, governors' mansions, or the most prestigious academic and scientific grants. Through statistics, surveys, and the stories of hugely successful people who didn't attend the most exclusive schools, he demonstrates that many kinds of colleges - large public universities, tiny hideaways in the hinterlands - serve as ideal springboards. And he illuminates how to make the most of them. What matters in the end are a student's efforts in and out of the classroom, not the gleam of his or her diploma.

Where you go isn't who you'll be. Americans need to hear that - and this indispensable manifesto says it with eloquence and respect for the real promise of higher education.

©2015 Frank Bruni (P)2014 Hachette Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A relatable and relevant book for our time

I really enjoyed listening and reading this book. I can certainly relate to the stories in this book even after 20 years ago going through the insane process of applying for colleges. The outcomes related in Bruni's stories are what I have seen happen to peers and others who I have met. The secret to Ivies is to not attend them as undergraduates. I learned when I went to an Ivy as a graduate student that revenue derived from undergraduate tuition was really applied toward supporting research and graduate programs. At the end of the day, I was happy to have gotten a lot out of my small state university education and to walk out without debt.

The performance was good overall, although it was slightly confusing that midway through chapter 5 Frank Bruni stopped reading and some other narrator started reading the remainder of the book. I wonder why that person wasn't credited and why Bruni stopped midway.

I am certainly going to share this book with peers.

3 people found this helpful

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Required reading for all parents of juniors

Reading this book can help to restore the sanity of the school application process. The unnecessary pressure created by the process today is nuts. So happy to hear a voice of reason.

2 people found this helpful

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I now have excitement about the college search

This book appeared at a most opportune time as we set out on college visits. I am working with my daughter to broaden her search and expectations about prospective schools. Many exciting options if one steps back and looks at what it is you really want college to be. This book confirmed my sense that a different approach to and assessment of the schools we look at will pan out to a richer experience. I am going to relax a bit and trust it will play out well.

1 person found this helpful

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Required Reading for Parents!

This is a book about why running around trying to mold your child into the perfect college candidate is absolutely the wrong way to parent. About why luck and intuition and, yes, trusting your child are so much more important.

Look at the idiots who have landed themselves in prison for cheating on applications. How different, really, is the mad chase for the “perfect” college. I went to a college I learned about from a brochure they sent me after the SAT. It was perfect, though few have ever heard of it. I still managed to get into a very nice law school. 🤣. Trying to avoid rankings is almost impossible! This is exactly the problem.

Read the book. Your children will thank you.

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Eye-opening, profound

This book has helped me so much! I was already leaning toward the conclusions Bruni draws, but his extensive data collection and reporting has helped me be at peace with recognizing the near-scam higher education has become, and will, in turn, help me let my children become the happy people I want them to be. I’ve recommended this to so many people!

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A True Antidote

I was rejected from Harvard, Princeton and Duke. This book really helped me that my life didn’t end with those rejections–it has simply begun with them.

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Excellent resource for the whole family

Wish i would have read this earlier in the process. This is a must read for kids and parents at the very beginning of the college process Freshman year!

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  • 03-27-18

Very insightful and informative in multiple areas

Really enjoyed it and have shared with others. This is a must read for the college search for students of all ages.

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A book that reinforces it's premise to exhaustion

I struggled to finish this book, due to a premise that getting to an Ivy League School won't ruin your life. The author spent too many chapters detailing how worked up upper middle class gets about their kids not getting to the right school, the admission statistics, and how other colleges pour out successful people as much as the sought after pseudo social ladder climbing Ivy league schools. I was convinced that this upper middle, costly secondary prep school students were too jacked up on entitlement from these college admission board by chapter 3. The last chapter and epilogue were well worth listening due to public opinion and a parental testimony.

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Excellent! Content about ASU was surprising.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be?

What I learned about ASU was surprising and fantastic.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The impact of recruiting international students at any cost with American taxpayer dollars is maddening. In addition, it is jaw dropping to learn that students are willing to do anything and say anything in their essays to get into their school of choice–sickening, really.