“Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be” by Frank Bruni

Where You Go

New York Times best-selling author Frank Bruni shows why rejection from an Ivy League college does not spell disaster but may even be a blessing in disguise. In his book, Where You’ll Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, Bruni takes on the myth that getting an Ivy League education is not only necessary for success as an adult, but also a stepping stone to wealth and prosperity. He examines the chaos of the college admissions process in the US, looking at college rankings, SAT scores, and acceptance rates of elite colleges.

Bruni connects the mayhem of admissions to the emphasis on privilege and branding, which ends up categorizing people by their race or their family’s income. Too often, admission into a top college becomes the number one priority, while trying to go to a school where you get the best education takes a backseat. Crafting a student’s resume begins as early as in preschool, as community service, sports abilities, and other extra-curriculars all contribute to where the student ends up attending. Students can only relax when they are finally accepted somewhere.

Bruni writes, “The sale is more important than the product,” as he uses his own personal experiences to show that being rejected from Ivy League colleges may, in fact, be a blessing. Bruni uses Arizona University as an example of a great school that is not in the Ivy League. Arizona offers high quality education, with a faculty that includes two Nobel and five Pulitzer Prize winners. Getting an education from your top choice, even if it is not in the Ivy League, is still the best option, but rejection can lead you off the path, where you have to learn to be self-reliant and more flexible, increasing your chances of success.

Where You’ll Go Is Not Who You’ll Be is a must-read for students heading into colleges, as it reminds them that just because a college may be higher ranked or has more prestige does not mean it’s a better place for their education. Written in a dynamic style but containing a lot of valuable information, this is a book that families and students cannot overlook as they get into the bedlam of college admissions.

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
Author: Frank Bruni
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: March 2015

Reviewer: Sahil Kurup is a high-school student at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, California.

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