Book Review: A Is For Admission

A Is for Admission : The Insider’s Guide to Getting into the Ivy League and Other Top Colleges,
by Michele A. Hernandez
Paperback – 288 pages;  Warner Books

This book caused quite a stir when it first came out in the late ’90s. Hernandez is a former Dartmouth College admissions officer. She then decided to break the Ivy League code of silence about the infamous Academic Index, a crucial Ivy League admission criterion that converts applicants’ standardized test scores and class rank into a hard number that then becomes a significant thumbs-up or thumbs-down admission factor. I’m sure that Ivy League deans of admission really appreciated Hernandez’s candor on this issue!

There are other insights too, many of which are available in other books. Some reviewers have noted that the information in A Is for Admission is most helpful for Dartmouth applicants because of Hernandez’s intimate association with the process there. That may be true, but readers who are targeting the so-called elite colleges can get a good perspective of the steep slope they face when entering applicant pools of this competitive level. The truth about elite admissions is that it’s much harder than most people imagine it to be. One has to be very discerning to see through the marketing hype that appears in high schoolers’ mailboxes. The Ivies and other top schools would love to have your application and your application fee. Before being quick to do the application work and write that check, read books like this one to get some perspective on the issue. “A” may be for “admission,” but “D” is for “discernment.”