Books about higher ed to take on vacation

Stories of scandal, struggle, and scrutiny make the list

Even the casual reader will enjoy the offbeat picks related to college life and admissions selected by Willard Dix, a college admissions expert and former admission officer at Amherst College. Here are some of his selections:

Admission, by Jean Korelitz: A witty novel about the professional and personal issues troubling a Princeton University admission officer.

I am Charlotte Simmons, by Tom Wolfe: Set at the fictional DuPont University (modeled after Duke University), this novel takes a critical look at university life as seen through the eyes of low-income local student Charlotte Simmons.

The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager, by Thomas Hine: A historical and critical analysis of what we mean when we talk about teenagers.

Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities, by Craig Steven Wilder: A sobering account of how enslaved blacks built some of the country's most elite universities, and how these schools are trying to make amends for their dark pasts. 

Related: Five books Bill Gates wants you to read this summer

The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy, by Nicholas Lemann: Learn how standardized testing became such a critical component of college entrance.

The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League, by Jeff Hobbs: The author was the roommate of the titular character, a young black man who overcame many struggles to attend Yale University on a full scholarship.

See Dix' full list and commentary at Forbes (Dix, Forbes, 7/18). 


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