In 2019, the stakes in college admissions have never seemed higher. With ever-plummeting acceptance rates and parents willing to pay massive sums of money to secure spots for their children at “elite” schools, many families approach college applications with unanswered questions. Responding to the current sentiments surrounding college admissions, Derryfield’s Director of College Counseling, Brennan Barnard, has co-authored a new book that aims to mitigate confusion and anxiety.
Titled The Truth about College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together, and written with Georgia Tech Director of Undergraduate Admission Rick Clark, the book aims to “provide critical advice, thoughtful strategies, helpful direction, and invaluable reassurance during the long and often bewildering college admission journey.” Published by Johns Hopkins University Press, It is scheduled to hit bookshelves in September.
Mr. Barnard has a long history of advising high school students on the path to college, both at Derryfield and through the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s “Making Caring Common” project. Mr. Clark is an experienced admission leader who has also worked at Wake Forest University and Georgia State. Together, they provide invaluable insight from both perspectives: that of the applicant and that of the admission staff.
“This book is written to put the college search and admission experience in perspective for your family,” the pair write in the book’s preface. “It challenges the common narrative that college admission is a rite of passage to fear and reclaims the opportunity many students and families often miss--one that provides growth, discovery, and excitement for the future.”
“In this book, students and their families will find insights and tips but no tricks,” they go on to say. “...Our guide is honest. It is based on a combined four decades of work in the field directly counseling and advising students and families in schools and communities.”
There is no shortage of books and manuals claiming to contain the secret to college admissions; however, Mr. Barnard and Mr. Clark’s work is unique in its commitment to balance and reality and its focus on how families, rather than just students, can have a positive experience throughout the application cycle. Broken into four parts and 10 chapters, the book guides families all the way from pondering “Why Are You Going to College?” to “Making Your College Choice.” Along the way, the two offer anecdotes and compelling pieces of advice rooted in the kind of real-life experience that few books on college admissions can offer.
Equally importantly, Mr. Barnard and Mr. Clark’s book does not approach the admission experience as something to be endured; rather, it is a journey that should be enjoyed. “Clark and Barnard’s perspective, mixing facts with humor, helped reduce my own stress and gave me a much-needed reality check,” one parent review shared. Once the book goes public, its authors hope that it does the same for many more.