Free: Surviving the College Admissions Madness

Surviving the College Admissions Madness

Unlike any book written about higher education, Surviving the College Admissions Madness is a complete takedown of a deeply flawed and thoroughly broken system. Unconventional, irreverent, and entertaining, Kevin Robert Martin argues that elite universities do not care about their applicants.

He observes that college admissions is highly undemocratic and dehumanizing. Individual admissions representatives might care about their students, but university bureaucracies alienate applicants from their humanity and sense of self. Reading essay advice books might help you get in, but they won’t help you stay sane. Surviving and even thriving depends on digging deep into your beliefs and understanding your behaviors within the broader context of society.

This isn’t another Admissions 101 “how-to to write a killer essay” book or a promise of “six easy steps” for Ivy League acceptance. Instead, Admissions Madness is the first of its kind to integrate applicant psychology with the sociology and economics of higher education.

Martin observes that a system of bad incentives in education and society wastes hundreds of millions of hours each admissions cycle. It produces profound suffering for tens of thousands of students each year. He writes for families and high school educators who want a deeper understanding of the truth.

Elite college admissions undermines students whether they’re privileged or marginalized, rich or poor, black or white, rural or urban, first-time freshman or transfer, and domestic or international. Almost everyone loses, even those who get into their dream schools. Elite universities are neither accountable to nor transparent with the public.

Application numbers skyrocket while first-year student class sizes remain the same despite COVID-19 virtual learning disruptions. Elite universities claim to care about diversity and college access, yet they’re hypocrites. Admission by holistic review has noble origins in the civil rights movement, but nowadays, it serves as a tool for oppression. Holistic review is arbitrary, capricious, and prone to error and bias.

Understanding inconvenient truths will help students and families survive the college admissions madness. He provides helpful advice for avoiding application mistakes, building a reasonable college list, minimizing debt, identifying cognitive errors and distortions, and helping applicants reframe their college applications. Martin equips readers with the vocabulary, frameworks, and tools to make sense of America’s broken higher education system, starting with the admissions gatekeepers.
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