The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us

The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us
    The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us you think not just about higher education, but about the nation itself."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 400 pages
  • The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us
  • Paul Tough
  • 24 May 2018
  • 0544944488

The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us[Reading] ➷ The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us By Paul Tough – Essayreview.co.uk Indelible and extraordinary Tara Westover, author of Educated A Memoir, New York Times Book Review A New York Times Book Review Editors Choice The best selling author of How Children Succeed returns w Indelible and extraordinary Tara Westover, author of That Matter Epub Ü Educated A Memoir, New York Times Book Review A New York Times Book Review Editors Choice The best selling author of How Children Succeed returns with a powerful, mind changing inquiry into higher education in the United States Does college still work Is the system designed just to protect the privileged and leave everyone else behind Or can a college education today provide real opportunity to young Americans seeking to improve their station in life The Years That Matter Most tells The Years Epub / the stories of students trying to find their way, with hope, joy, and frustration, through the application process and into college Drawing on new research, the book reveals how the landscape of higher education has shifted in recent decades and exposes the hidden truths of how the system works and whom it works for And it introduces us to the people who really make higher education go admissions directors trying to balance the class and balance the budget, College Board officials scrambling to defend the SAT in the face Years That Matter eBook ´ of mounting evidence that it favors the wealthy, researchers working to unlock the mysteries of the college student brain, and educators trying to transform potential dropouts into successful graduates With insight, humor, and passion, Paul Tough takes readers on a journey from Ivy League seminar rooms to community college welding shops, from giant public flagship universities to tiny experimental storefront colleges Whether you are facing your own decision about college or simply care about the American promise of social mobility, The Years That Matter Most will change the way you think not just about higher education, but about the nation itself.


About the Author: Paul Tough

Paul Tough is the author, most recently, That Matter Epub Ü of The Years That Matter Most How College Makes or Breaks Us His three previous books include How Children Succeed Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, which was translated into languages and spentthan a year on the New York Times hardcover and paperback best seller lists Paul is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine his writing has also appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and GQ, and on the op ed page of the The Years Epub / New York Times He is a speaker on topics including education, parenting, equity, and student success He has worked as an editor at the New York Times Magazine and Harper s Magazine and as a reporter and producer for This American Life He was the founding editor of Open Letters, an online magazine He lives with his wife and two sons in Austin, Texas, and Montauk, New York Forinformation, please visit his web site or follow him on Twitter.


10 thoughts on “The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us

  1. says:

    First up, this isn t a guide on how to get into college Nor is it reassurance that it doesn t matter which college you get into Instead, it s an examination of the college playing field, and not only will you better understand just how tilted it is but also how, even when where attempts are made to make itlevel, the inequalities can persist At the same time, Tough highlights signals of hope and bright spots where dedicated people are invested in helpingstudents succeed in and bene First up, this isn t a guide on how to get into college Nor is it reassurance that it doesn t matter which college you get into Instead, it s an examination of the college playing field, and not only will you better understand just how tilted it is but also how, even when where attempts are made to make itlevel, the inequalities can persist At the same time, Tough highlights signals of hope and bright spots where dedicated people are invested in helpingstudents succeed in and benefit from the college system This is an insightful and thought provoking read If you are a parent of a high schooler, reading the section, Letting In, on how colleges approach admissions is simultaneously insightful and scary You ll learn that, thanks to enrollment managers who can crunch data to predict financial impact decisions, if you pick any two freshman at the same college, they are likely to be paying completely different tuition rates Those rates are not based on the true value of the service the college is offering or even on the ability of the student s family to pay instead they are based on a complex calculation of what the student is worth to the college and what the college is worth to the student Tough also gave me a whole new appreciation and respect for the colleges that are going test optional ie no longer taking SAT or ACT scores into account He lays out the research that shows how relying too heavily on these test scores mean some high potential students can miss out on a college spot Thanks to Tough, I had a muchinformed reaction to the announcement that students will be able to retake specific subjects in the ACT, rather than the whole test, starting in September 2020 I also am so grateful to people like Professor David Laude and Professor Uri Treisman both at the University of Texas for being curious about why some students were not succeeding, investing time and effort into understanding why, and then experimenting with ways to improve their outcomes Laude identified fourteen data points to predict a student s likelihood of of graduating and, in retrospect, it won t surprise you that they include things like family income, SAT scores, and parents educational background These are kids who arrive at college without the benefits of having advice from parents who understand how college works, the cushion of money, and previous access to a wide range of APs at high school Once they are at college, they can feel socially isolated and are often worried about money Add on starting to struggle with classes because they are tackling material for the first time that their fellow students may have already studied at high school and it s no wonder that they can mistakenly believe they don t fit in How do we ensure they don t flounder in this new, unfamiliar world that s demanding in a way they ve never experienced compared to many of theaffluent, advantaged students Laude and Triesman show the way Finally, Tough ends with a look at the inspiring audacity and impact of the G.I Bill in changing the economic and social mobility of hundreds of thousands of families across America for the better He contrasts it today with how there is now an ideological division around college One perspective is summed up by Rick Santorum when he was running for president in 2012, and said that trying to havepeople get a college degree makes you a snob Tough points out that Santorum bravely endured the snobbery of the American college campus just long enough to collect a BA, and then an MBA, and then a law degree Unfortunately, arguments using data never win over arguments using emotion So Tough challenges us all to think about how we can helppeople understand that our collective public education benefits us all Great book to read and discuss with your book club

  2. says:

    In The Years That Matter Most, Paul Tough asks whether Americans should go to university.Does meritorious social mobility exist in America or has it been corrupted by inherited wealth Under the old social mobility model, which still gets props, Americans who outworked others reached the top and consequently deserved their fabulous wealth and lofty status The postwar generations blazed a new myth of meritorious prosperity in the university, the diligent, intelligent, and credentialed would ris In The Years That Matter Most, Paul Tough asks whether Americans should go to university.Does meritorious social mobility exist in America or has it been corrupted by inherited wealth Under the old social mobility model, which still gets props, Americans who outworked others reached the top and consequently deserved their fabulous wealth and lofty status The postwar generations blazed a new myth of meritorious prosperity in the university, the diligent, intelligent, and credentialed would rise Today, the popularity and power of that myth is undeniable, so students across the USA work very hard to ace tests to gain entry to institutions that take them straight to the top But you have to pay to play pay for tutors, for tours, for connections e.g legacy A silver spoon helps, and in the aggregate it ultimately grants wealth and status Does it grant merit The conventional wisdom I ve often heard is that students should find a good fit to thrive in Tough suggests that might have been true in 1962 but now students do seem to make the best choice if they go to the most selective college American students who can land a spot in an Ivy League university stand a very good chance of becoming a 1 percenter here defined as an annual income of US 650K relative to graduates from even slightly less prestigious universities Is this statistic inflated by Wall Street jobs Tough doesn t explore the possibility So elite schools prioritize test scores, and affluent students choose the most selective university they can enter based on those scores Because elite universities spendper pupil than other universities do sometimes over a hundred thousand dollars per yearexorbitant American tuition at the top may still be a bargain, even if the value added is tricky to calculate everywhere else.Clearly, tests like the SAT and ACT are influential, but they strongly reward the wealthy Can we make themequitable It doesn t seem so The College Board and Khan Academy partnered and released glowing press releases which were turned into glowing headlines but the data focused on carefully chosen categories that obscured the broader truth online SAT training mostly doesn t do anything The rich retain their advantage, even if the lottery students poor but brilliant who are accepted into these elite institutions consistently wonder when interviewed by Tough, at least why they deserve to rise Interestingly, some less than elite universities stopped admitting based on the tests since high school GPA is a better predictor of university success than the SAT the SAT and GPA are slightlyreliable, but if you have a GPA and income, maybe you re set Now, universities are building data banks of SAT scores, ACT scores, and family incomes in order to determine who they should admit I couldn t escape the thought that universities are not so well designed to establish merit and hierarchy, but they ve become obsessed with both tasks.As Tough moves to his conclusion, the focus shifts from merit to whether post secondary education is worth the hype Has college become underrated He writes you could hear the same arguments, day after day, on Fox Friends or Tucker Carlson Tonight four year colleges were offering America s youth nothing but safe spaces, emotional support dogs, and towering mounds of student debt meanwhile, high paying welding jobs were sitting vacant because millennial snowflakes were afraid to get their hands dirty One of the many odd things about the rhetoric that posits welding as the antithesis of college is that in order to become a welder, you actually have to go to college He also learns that welders in the USA tend to earn less than graduates from liberal arts colleges yes, even philosophy majors Further, he notes the irony of so many critics of education speaking from behind their elite degrees I wonder if these politicians denigrate university because they bought their way in Ultimately, it s hard not to feel for the people he interviews who don t go to university and then do everything they can to get credentialed so they can get ahead.Is university worth it For me, it was, and though I ve rarely thought of my degree as a monetary return on investment I m sure I m better off Tough s analysis focuses on whether getting an education pays off and ultimately calls forpeople to attend university because our collective public education befits us all Some random notes Because Tough mostly avoids considering whether getting an education can help develop an authentic or deeper sense of self or citizenship, Educated, by Westover, might be a productive companion read It s not surprising that Amy Chua, author of Tiger Mother, works at Yale her advice sounds like that of an insider who knows some shortcuts and doesn t want to rock the boat Tough often references a book, Pedigree, that argues that being a lacrosse bro isadvantageous than a pleb like me could imagine because lacrosse is a high cost of access sport that rewards hard work, a way of separating the gritty among the elite The book I read previous to this one, Malcolm Gladwell s Talking to Strangers, was timely Tough s style, argumentation, and research all put Gladwell to shame Having said that, Gladwell s thesis, that people often want to believe that others are as truthful as they are and therefore accept those people s lies, does seem like a useful starting point for exploring merit, status, wealth and elite post secondary education in the USA And of course, let s not forget The Great Gatsby, whose conclusion could have been written here So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past

  3. says:

    Paul Tough s new book is an addition to the literature of how the elite college applications process in the US, while always tied to replicating status and class, has recently grown evenso to the point where it is grossly unfair to most potential applicants, who lack the family resources, educational histories, and contacts to successfully apply to top college and to benefit and prosper at those colleges if they manage to secure admission The application process writ large is shown as an Paul Tough s new book is an addition to the literature of how the elite college applications process in the US, while always tied to replicating status and class, has recently grown evenso to the point where it is grossly unfair to most potential applicants, who lack the family resources, educational histories, and contacts to successfully apply to top college and to benefit and prosper at those colleges if they manage to secure admission The application process writ large is shown as an anxiety provoking and highly stressful process for most, even while it is the elite colleges who manage the process to achieve their own objectives and secure the maximum resources from students and donors in the process Efforts to improve on the success of poorer less advantaged students are discussed, along with recent economic analyses that shed light on the economics of higher education trends The author builds his book on a combination of wide ranging interviews with a spectrum of participants in the admissions game, along with thoughtful looks at some of the data analyses that are accumulating about elite higher education The overall direction of the book is that manydeserving students could benefit from access to elite schools, that the country would be better for their doing so, and that the putative shortcomings of underprivileged applicants are either overstated or else capable of being addressed to some degree through investments by schools in better teaching of freshmen in critical courses Especially interesting in this regard are some long chapters on developments at the University of Texas The net conclusion of the book, however, is not overly optimistic, in that elite colleges have shown little interest in expanding their capacity to admit significantly larger numbers of poorer or minority students He closes the book by reflecting on the GI Bill after WW2 and noting the differences with the Obama administration s effort at improving graduation rates He laments our individual orientation to higher education attainment when our history shows it can bring significant societal benefits.I am torn on what to think about this I do not disagree with much of what he argues, but must note that it is well known and understood Elite systems function to preserve and replicate themselves and that certainly includes the US higher education system Tough s good intentions suggest that he would do better to focus his attention on the role of large public institutions, like the Big 10 schools, since they educate farstudents than the Ivy and near Ivy schools Increasing access to these schools, coupled with the junior colleges would beeffective than focusing on the ultra elites I guess it would make for a less compelling crisis, however The sections on UT Austin fit in this direction, but the Austin case is a bit particular His emphasis on teaching freshman calculus and thegeneral need to actually educate new and needy students is spot on but conceptually distinct from getting into Harvard, Yales, Princeton, or Penn He seems to have a running argument with the College Board that it is not really interested in improving access I am sympathetic but it strikes me as less consequential to his overall story.Net net I am familiar with all of this I am unsure what the book is adding to the discussion, even though it is fun to read I saw the author talk recently and he gives a good show too

  4. says:

    Of all the college and meritocracy books, this is the best and the most interesting Tough cuts through the data and the hype and offers a timely analysis of inequality and meritocracy as it relates to the college admissions process In sum, it is not really a meritocracy The SAT correlates with family income Elite colleges take mostly rich kids And it actually does matter which college you go to He also debunks the dumb trope about how people should skip college to become welders making 10 Of all the college and meritocracy books, this is the best and the most interesting Tough cuts through the data and the hype and offers a timely analysis of inequality and meritocracy as it relates to the college admissions process In sum, it is not really a meritocracy The SAT correlates with family income Elite colleges take mostly rich kids And it actually does matter which college you go to He also debunks the dumb trope about how people should skip college to become welders making 100k See Marco Rubio Turns out you have to go to college to be a welder and you only make 35k The one thing that I think is missing from some of these books is an attempt to think through other reasons for a college education besides future income maybe like learning to think and be a human or whatever I get that with college being so expensive these days, you really want to make sure you can earn money afterwards and it still might be the best way to evaluate the decision to attend or not or which college to go to, but I do just want to note that there are other benefits to those 4 years

  5. says:

    I m not exactly sure where to start with this book I suppose the best thing I can say about it is this in ten years when I look back on the second stage of my career, I imagine I will look back at this book as the light that illuminated my path In other words, I found Tough s book to be moving, profound, and inspiring I felt a rollercoaster of emotions while reading this anger, sadness and elation resulting in literal tears, a burning desire to create change crushed ten pages later by disil I m not exactly sure where to start with this book I suppose the best thing I can say about it is this in ten years when I look back on the second stage of my career, I imagine I will look back at this book as the light that illuminated my path In other words, I found Tough s book to be moving, profound, and inspiring I felt a rollercoaster of emotions while reading this anger, sadness and elation resulting in literal tears, a burning desire to create change crushed ten pages later by disillusionment in a rigged and self perpetuating system of exclusion just to name a few While much of the focus is on elite institutions many of which can spend six figures a year on students that already have affluence and advantage because of billion dollar endowments , I still feel it was an important read as a community college professor and department head Many of our students are the underrepresented, underprepared, lower income, first generation and minority students that it seems many of the selective institutions have created false marketing claims about serving while truly protecting elitist interests After reading, in my view, the absurdly corrupt practices of the College Board, I m evena fan of our multiple measure practices for placement in curriculum courses It s a shame my alma mater Clemson University even comes across uncaring, but it s no real surprise On the positive side, I have new heroes in Uri Treisman and David Laude There are dozens of ideas in my head now about what I want to do for our students It s exciting albeit a bit scary, but there s a passage written about Laude that will serve as my new grounding theme and rally cry In the past, he d always put the responsibility for students failure in his class on someone else on the students subpar high schools or their disengaged families or on the students themselves Now he decided the responsibility really lay with him It his students failed, it was because he was letting them fail Tough 213.And so it is

  6. says:

    I have worked in this field for 20 years and not only does Tough get it, he sees far beyond most of us who can t see beyond our trenches He is a evocative writer who will make you desperately care about where a girl from the Bronx gets into college He does an overview of educational policy that has led us to this perilous place that made so many things clear that weren t before I read this book.A mark of a great book is knowing the right people to talk to By highlighting the work of Angel and I have worked in this field for 20 years and not only does Tough get it, he sees far beyond most of us who can t see beyond our trenches He is a evocative writer who will make you desperately care about where a girl from the Bronx gets into college He does an overview of educational policy that has led us to this perilous place that made so many things clear that weren t before I read this book.A mark of a great book is knowing the right people to talk to By highlighting the work of Angel and Jon, he demonstrates his deep understanding of the issues in admissions I thought the highlight would be the chapters that feature friends of mine, but the final 100 pages, which is a surprisingly fascinating indictment of how calculus is taught in college is fantastic I know, I know but trust me it s the most riveting 100 pages you will read.The ending is a call to arms, and asks what kind of nation do we want to be It s as powerful as anything I ve ever read.I ve read a lot of great books this year but nothing compares to this It is the best book of the year

  7. says:

    College is supposed to be the path to social mobility in the United States, but that doesn t seem to be true anyThere are exceptions, but on average rich students go to elite schools and stay rich, middle class students go to non elite schools and stay middle class, and poor students don t go to college or drop out with debt Tough asks why this is happening, looking at everything from standardized testing and test prep to lack of funding to college rankings that reward enrolling rich stu College is supposed to be the path to social mobility in the United States, but that doesn t seem to be true anyThere are exceptions, but on average rich students go to elite schools and stay rich, middle class students go to non elite schools and stay middle class, and poor students don t go to college or drop out with debt Tough asks why this is happening, looking at everything from standardized testing and test prep to lack of funding to college rankings that reward enrolling rich students, focusing on the real lives of students The Years That Matter Most strikes to the heart of what isn t working about college in America

  8. says:

    This book is reallya collection of essays, someeffective than others It would have benefited from a closer editing of the anecdotes and straw man arguments Tough s previous work, How Children Succeed was enjoyable, though I recall it as being similarly Gladwellian in its fallacious reasoning and lack of logic I m delighted Tough discussed the bottom line with university enrollment management published in the NYT in 9 19 , mentioned Tressie McMillan Cottom s book, Lower Ed about This book is reallya collection of essays, someeffective than others It would have benefited from a closer editing of the anecdotes and straw man arguments Tough s previous work, How Children Succeed was enjoyable, though I recall it as being similarly Gladwellian in its fallacious reasoning and lack of logic I m delighted Tough discussed the bottom line with university enrollment management published in the NYT in 9 19 , mentioned Tressie McMillan Cottom s book, Lower Ed about the ways for profit institutions and their analogs use the Gospel of Education get a degree at any cost to have greater security only to saddle students with useless credentials and mountains of debt , Lauren Rivera s book, Pedigree which demonstrates the ways elite professional services use subtle indicators to ensure they hire the most privileged from the most highly selective institutions , Khan Academy s usage data guess who uses it most , and College Board CEO Coleman s salary 1.5M for a non profit despite his successive failures but superb attention to PR Tough dropped the ball on the analysis regarding why people like me make the irrational choice to attend other than most highly selective schools that admit us How about values At the time, I wanted a university that shared my spiritual values I was a Religious Studies and Spanish major , not a secular one that promised to transform me into an elitist, and did not want to be among the old moneyed class who would regard me as a lesser life form I knew my worldly station and my mind and soul were elsewhere I suppose I cannot expect Tough to comprehend that Tough also seems to believe everyone should get a college degree, even though he didn t Everyone who thinks that should work like I did at a community college or a for profit for a few months with the many students who struggle to read or perform basic arithmetic, experience psychic and physical pain at having to craft a few sentences and lack general wherewithal and the motivation to attend class or study groups or earn worthless degrees with mountains of debt He totally lost me with the discussion of Ivonne Martinez, the motivated and talented but economically marginalized Mexican American in Ch 10 Most universities don t possess the resources University of Texas Austin engaged for Ivonne in Calculus a renowned math pedagogue in Uri Treisman whose work on ethnicity and study groups I cited in my book Engage and supremely talented Teaching Assistant and native English speaker another rarity in Erica Winterer who shepherded Ivonne away from the high level study group with other native Spanish speakers, implemented 2x week study groups without direct teaching but guiding pairs and groups through problem sets and then assembled an all female group THEN evaded UT bureaucracy by granting an A to anyone earning an A on the final exam, erasing all previous F grades Sounds like a Hollywood setupthan it does any of the universities I ve worked for It may well be true that manystudents could succeed were they assigned a personal tutor sitting at their elbow several hours a week Is that what we re advocating for now What happens later in the workforce Will corporations, law firms, medical practices, the public sector be personal mentor these individuals in their careers Egads We need to recognize that everyone is not cut out for university There are many ways of crafting a meaningful life with a sustainable wage that do not require a degree For many people, it s just not worth it The report from Third Way indicates that over 72% associates degree granting institutions and 17% bachelor s degree institutions left the majority of their students earning less than 28,000 the typical salary of a high school graduate and remember the average student loan debt is 32,731, to compound daily This collection of essays does not tell a cohesive story, except for the thread carried throughout exhorting educators and society at large to compensate for the stress, anxiety, and alienation that the less privileged have and do all we can to help them succeed Individual characteristics and motivation are a result of systemic oppression and privilege, so they must be offset We are meant to lower the standards and provide so many supports that all may reach them This is another installment in the Left s efforts to ensure equality of OUTCOMES, rather than merely equality of opportunity It is this outlook that caused San Francisco to eliminate Algebra for everyone in 8th grade, since not everyone could do it so no one should access it In this framework, it is insufficient that students can attend community colleges all students must be able access to institutions regarded as elite Better still, anything elite should be eliminated Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain made low A socialist future approaches

  9. says:

    absolutely outstanding breaks down some important information about our higher education system and features some truly incredible anecdotes I teared up towards the end My higher ed friends MUST read this book, especially because a lot of it is taking a look our class many of the interviewees in this book were in college from 2013 2017 It is relevant information for those of us taking on various roles in higher education.

  10. says:

    Wow This was moving and thought provoking and so well written I teared upthan once as I heard about some of the first generation or lower income students who succeeded when supported by caring professors Three cheers for University of Texas I highly recommend the audio read by Tough himself.

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