In schools and universities across the nation, the academic world is gearing up to approve those students that seem to fit into the life within their respective halls. The decisions are tough with few slots available in some cases and only a handful of hopefuls making the cut.
In Early Decision by Lacy Crawford, we are given a look into the decision making from the eyes of a student and one of those who help them polish their applications. Finding and dragging the best from many students is a chore and often parents are unable to help. In this case they hire Anne, who through word of mouth is known to get students what they want and need.
The problem is that what the students want and need is not always on the same course with their parents. Anne often finds herself as a go between in cases where unrealistic dreams clash with reality. SAT scores and abilities figure harshly in many instances, and those with the money to pay her fees do not always get the degree of satisfaction they are looking for. Yet for Anne, it is about the students, she helps them to realize their strengths and to recognize their weaknesses. This is a tough deliverance as the parents are often in the background with expectations that in some cases are difficult to meet.
In some situations the price of success takes students where they feel they need to be, but in other cases heartache is the meal of the day. In the admissions process, feelings are not a part of the progression. The faces of admission mean nothing; it is only the scores and abilities, as well as the talent to illustrate in a way that you stand out in a crowd. That is part of what Anne helps with. Yet there is a story behind each student that makes it all so real.
Crawford takes us into the lives of a group of college-bound seniors, sharing their backgrounds and hopes, as well as those of the family, especially the parents. Not always in the best light, she helps them to understand how sometimes it is the parents dream and not their own. It seems like a cruel system, and yet there are just so many spaces available in many of the institutions.
Crawford takes the most difficult of cases and finds the humor and sympathy below the surface. I am sure there is often untold hurt when rejection comes, and yet for a handful of students there is joy and trepidation.
This would be a wonderful book for a reading group or book club. The intrinsic gathering of information and background is deep and basic. The dialogue engendered through a reading would be quite robust.