Synopses & Reviews
"A university should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning."--Benjamin Disraeli
Our mission in writing this book for students and parents is to create greater awareness of the small, distinctive cluster of colleges and universities of excellence that are available to gifted college-bound students. We would be surprised, indeed, to encounter a student or parent throughout the country or outside the United States who has not heard of the exclusive band of elite institutions known as the Ivy League. They have become, in our modern economic universe of marketing, the ultimate brand name for quality education and prestige. It is a challenge not to become intoxicated with the thought of graduating from one of these famous schools. Each year these eight institutions'Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania'are flooded with applications from thousands of fully qualified individuals who, despite the fact that they have done everything one could ask of them as students, will not be invited to enroll in any of these schools. Other universities such as Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech, Virginia, Duke, Georgetown, and the group historically known as the Little Ivies (including Amherst, Bowdoin, Middlebury, Swarthmore, Wesleyan, and Williams) have scaled the heights of prestige and selectivity and also turn away thousands of our best and brightest young men and women. This is the present situation, and it is one that will be with us for a number of years down the road.
Parents can prepare for their role of supporter and guide to their children as early as junior high school, since numerous surveys have revealed that they arethe number-one influence in their children's choice of college. The more you are armed with information on the breadth of top college choices to aim for and what is required for admission, the better able you will be to serve your son or daughter. Students can profit by reading'in the early years of high school'about the factors that make for an outstanding college and which ones might match up best for them. If they then follow the essential steps we outline, they will better their odds of being accepted to the college of their choice.
Let's go directly to the heart of the matter: There are two dynamics at work that have combined to intensify the competition for admission to the best colleges. The number of high school graduates of exceptional ability and motivation who have set their sights on gaining the very best college education they can have is rising dramatically each year, as is the cost of receiving such an opportunity. Admissions deans at the selective colleges are shaking their heads in astonishment at the academic and other achievements of applicants to their schools. Never before have they seen so many young men and women who have attained such outstanding records in their high schools, performed at such high levels on the SAT and ACT, and garnered so many awards for their artistic, athletic, and intellectual capabilities. They worry, just as parents do, about the constant rise in tuition, fees, and room-and-board expenses. It has become an ongoing contest of increasing financial aid in order to stay ahead of the annual increases in the cost of a selective college education, which, at the top end, is now in the $33,000-per-year range.
In 1999, 1.3 million students tookthe SAT and another 1.2 sat for the ACT. Over 250,000 applications were received by the thirty Hidden Ivies and the eight Ivy League institutions alone in 1998. A great many of the best students are seeking guidance on identifying the best colleges and how to get into them. We have written this book to guide you on both counts. Parents and students are in a continual frenzy over the preparation for and admission to a top college today. The cost factor and the perception that the prestige factor will determine the quality of life their children will achieve has turned them into their own research-and-guidance teams who seek information from every source. The Hidden Ivies fills a large gap in the college admissions literature by providing the thoughtful researcher with descriptive, responsible, and insightful discussions of an exciting group of colleges and universities toward which many families are increasingly turning.
Both students and parents are greatly concerned about fulfilling the dream of attending a top college or university. As the number of outstanding candidates to the most selective schools continues to escalate, the competition for admission becomes more intense since the number of available places has not increased over time. To make matters worse, in the past several years virtually all of the Ivies and their counterparts have experienced a higher yield'the percentage of admitted students who choose to enroll'of accepted candidates than anticipated, which leass to overenrollment and which drives down the number of applicants who can be accepted in subsequent years! This is, in fact, one of the virtues of the top colleges: their determination to retain their historicenrollment in order to deliver outstanding teaching and a sense of community that has much to do with the learning experience.
Every day in the offices of Howard Greene and Associates, we meet with families who are embarking on the search for the best college for their children. One of the very first questions we are asked by many parents concerns the odds of their son or daughter getting into one of the Ivies. The next question, invariably, concerns what other top colleges to consider if this is either an unrealistic or uncertain goal. As the cost of a college degree continues its relentless climb, the name recognition of an institution becomes extremely important to the educational consumer, both to certify that the benefits of such a program are worth the high sticker price and to assure acceptance to graduate school and a good job at a later date. A commonly heard refrain of concerned parents is that they have so little real knowledge of, let alone insight into, the top colleges beyond the prestigious ones. Here is the point at which thousands of ambitious students need direction to these other great institutions, as well as greater understanding of their particular styles of teaching, the areas of academic and faculty strengths, and the predominant social and learning environments.
The Hidden Ivies focuses on liberal arts colleges and universities that are comparable quality to the Ivies. Based on surveys and interviews with students as well as college presidents, deans of faculty, and other administrators, The Hidden Ivies presents an insider perspective of thirty leading institutions of exceptional merit. Thee colleges and universities provide an outstanding educational experience for the gifted college-bound student and provide the foundations for life after graduation.
About the Author
Howard Greene, M.A., M.Ed., is the president of Howard Greene & Associates, the nation's leading independent educational consulting company, and is a former Princeton University admissions officer and member of the Faculty Board of Advisors. Howard has counseled thousands of students for almost forty years and has been a consultant for numerous schools, colleges, and corporations. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he holds master's degrees from Harvard and New York University. He lives in Wilton, Connecticut.
Matthew W. Greene, Ph.D., is Educational Director of Howard Greene & Associates. Matthew has consulted with families for a dozen years and often writes and speaks on educational planning and college admissions issues. A graduate of Dartmouth College, Matthew has taught and advised students at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he earned his doctorate in public policy. He lives in Wilton, Connecticut.