College Admissions Book Review: Admissions Confidential

Admissions Confidential : An Insiders Account of the Elite College Selection Process, by Rachel Toor, Textbook Binding – 288 pages, St Martins Pr (Trade)

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Book Description – Admissions Confidential

This is not a book about how to get into college. It’s about how they decide who gets in.

Most bright, well-rounded kids (BWRKs) won’t get into their first-choice college. For the first time, former Duke University admissions officer Toor reveals why. It’s not just that both sheer numbers of applications and the quality of the applicants is up. It’s not only that virtually all well-prepared high school students look precisely the same on paper. The gridlock is due to a variety of factors including where students choose to apply and, more important, how those colleges handle applications.

Toor’s book reveals:

  • why the top of the class at a high-performing high school may end up at their second and third choice colleges
  • that elite colleges spend thousands of dollars recruiting students they know they’ll never admit
  • why some students at the bottom of their high school classes are admitted to top schools when the valedictorians are rejected
  • how pricey independent college counselors can hurt an applicant’s chances
  • why admission to a top school depends on who reads your application
  • how many high school guidance counselors spoil their kids’ chances at the top schools


Written in an engaging first-person narrative that reads as an admissions officer’s memoir of the entire process–from recruitment to enrollment–Admissions Confidential is a must-read for all college hopefuls and their parents.

About the Author of Admissions Confidential

Rachel Toor, a cum laude graduate of Yale University, was an editor of scholarly books for a dozen years before working as an admissions officer at Duke University from 1997 to 2000. She currently writes for The Chronicle of Higher Education and various running magazines. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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