Greenes' Guides to Educational Planning: The Hidden Ivies: Thirty Colleges of Excellence Paperback – 25 July 2000
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The Hidden Ivies focuses on liberal arts colleges and universities that are comparable quality to the Ivies. Based on surveys and interviews with students as well as college presidents, deans of faculty, and other administrators, The Hidden Ivies presents an insider perspective of thirty leading institutions of exceptional merit. Thee colleges and universities provide an outstanding educational experience for the gifted college-bound student and provide the foundations for life after graduation.
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In this book, the Greenes focus on what they call the Hidden Ivies, or 30 schools that they consider meet the educational standards of the actual Ivies. These are mainly top-notch small liberal arts colleges often located on the East Coast. Within this list of 30 schools there are not any surprises. These are very well established renowned institutions, which are often nearly as selective as the Ivy League themselves. In other words, the Hidden Ivies are not so hidden. Indeed, try getting in Amherst, Claremont McKenna, Pomona, or Middlebury. If you can, one could argue you may as well apply to Yale, Princeton, and Harvard.
The Greenes make a good case that the Hidden Ivies offer a superior education that even the actual Ivies can't match. This superior education is a liberal arts curriculum offered on small residential campuses where the institution is often dedicated solely to undergraduate students. This is in contrast to the more prestigious Ivies where a significant amount of resources is diverted towards graduate programs and research. The Greenes further advance their case by sharing the superior record that some of the smaller Hidden Ivies have in the % of their graduates they send on to complete PhDs.
This book is filled with very useful information, including: a) main tips for parents with a child going through the admission process at a Hidden Ivy, b) tips for students, c) tips on what it takes to get in, and d) indication for parents that the actual college choice was a success.
Also, the 30 school profiles are very extensive. Each school is described in detail over 6 pages. It is the result of an extensive survey of the faculty, the administration, and the students. You get many direct quotes from students on how they like (or not) various aspects of their respective schools. By reading these school profiles you will get an excellent idea if a specific school is the right fit for you (or your child). And, for the Greenes, the proper school fit between student and college is far more important than the actual name recognition of the college. In other words, a happy and successful student at Emory will have a far better start in his academic and professional life than his counterpart who may feel isolated and over pressured at Princeton. Thus, the proper match is the key.
The authors style is very lively and makes this book easy to read. If you are considering one of these schools, this book is a must read.
Some parents feel they don't need this education, because they may have gone to elite colleges themselves decades ago, and they believe they already know the lay of the land. But the world has changed, folks. From 1970 to 2000, the U.S. population has grown by 78 million, with the percentage of the population attaining bachelor degrees more than doubling. The Ivy League schools haven't magically grown big enough to accomodate that kind of increase in students! There are plenty of brilliant, talented kids out there with much to offer, and they're not all going to be at Ivy League schools.
So if you were able to somehow attain Ivy undergraduate acceptance "back in the day," congratulations, but that doesn't necessarily mean your kid can do so today. (I sometimes wonder if I could get into my own Ivy Alma Mater today!) So you need to know about a few more college alternatives, beyond the Ivies, when your student asks you about them.
Like all Greenes Guides, this book is well-researched and offers wise, seasoned perspectives based on its authors' years of extensive consulting experience. It is a "must" for parents of college-bound students. But as other reviewers have pointed out, these "Hidden" Ivies aren't so hidden anymore. I look forward to the September, 2009 release of the second edition, which promises reviews on 50 schools. This can help parents educate themselves on even more "up and coming" hidden gems.
-Kris Hintz, [...]
My response to a couple of other readers' reviews is that I can see how questioning the validity of the prestige of Ivy league institutions would seem to be a viable option. Everyone knows that "rankings" are subjective, and that each college has attributes that are more suitable for some students than others, but that doesn't mean we have to bash those schools for their ability to maintain their success. One of the previous reviewers questioned whether or not Penn or Cornell is really better than Amherst and Middlebury, which is really an unjustified comparison when Amherst and Middlebury are two small liberal arts colleges and Penn and Cornell are not only Ivies, but very large research universities with a multitude of undergraduate and graduate programs (not to mention Cornell's reputation of being a pressure cooker driven intellectual buffet with over-achievers representing not one, but seven undergraduate colleges). Those of us who didn't necessarily gain admissions to an Ivy don't have to take the resentful route of bashing them to stroke our egos. Yes, there are other colleges with top notch academic programs, and let me reiterate that going to an Ivy won't necessarily make you more successful than a graduate of a state university , but let's keep the goal of looking into other schools with highly regarded programs in focus, not down playing another school's prestige as one's own defense mechanism. Ultimately, I would recommend this book to be read in addition to other college guides.When it comes to selecting the institution where you will be spending probably the four most mind expanding years of your life, you can never do too little research.