Publication Date: 2009-07-23
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist spends a year with a legendary high school guidance counselor who gets kids into the right colleges by focusing on self-discovery rather than test scores, grades, and the other traditional tools of the trade
Gwyeth Smith, known as Smitty, has made a national reputation by flouting the conventions of the college application ritual. He often steers kids from the SAT to the ACT, which he considers a more straightforward test that produces higher scores. He urges parents to home in on hidden bargains, scour the country for scholarships, and challenge financial aid offices rather than take out large loans. He will sometimes talk a seeming shoo-in candidate out of setting her sights on the prestigious Ivy League while goading another long-shot student into aiming for that same Ivy League school. His unorthodox approach is grounded on the principle that getting into college shouldn't just be about getting in; it should be a kid's first great moment of self-discovery.