Book of the Month
Choosing the Right College, The Whole Truth About America's 100 Top Schools, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Inc., 1998, $25, 672 pps.
This 672-page guide features a half dozen pages of description of each of America's top 100 universities and colleges, private and public. Parents can learn useful information, gleaned from thousands of on-campus sources, about each school.
Reviews of the colleges are divided into four parts: (1) an overview of each school's history and current climate; (2) its fundamental requirements and how they compare to the liberal arts ideal, (3) the prevailing "political atmosphere," and (4) a discussion of extracurricular aspects of student life.
Though the colleges are listed in alphabetical order in the Table of Contents, an index would have been helpful.
Here are a few excerpts:
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) "subjects all students to its harrowing basic curriculum." Humanities courses are "generally free of politici-zation, with science courses all but immune to such intrusions. It's difficult to teach 'Feminist Physics' or 'The Calculus of Oppression.' "
- Michigan State University (MSU) "has avoided many of the problems that beset other enormous state schools," and has "an excellent curriculum in the liberal arts."
- Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, "has a student body more focused on academics than activism, and is largely apathetic at both ends of the political spectrum."
- Notre Dame suffers from "a growing moral vacuum," and has "a high degree of politicization for the nation's flagship Catholic university."
- Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, "offers a very strong liberal arts curriculum in a traditional atmosphere. The sun and the beach are extras."
- Princeton University "has a prestigious name, but the curriculum is increasingly bedeviled by politicized courses." Academic life is dubbed "Poisoned Ivy."
- Tulane University in New Orleans "has remained one of the south's premier private schools, despite financial and other problems."
- Washington University in St. Louis "is increasingly known for the quality of its graduate and professional programs, but some of the school's best qualities do not apply to undergraduates."
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