Magazine April 18, 2011, Issue

The Parent Trap

Crazy U: One Dad’s Crash Course in Getting His Kid into College, by Andrew Ferguson (Simon & Schuster, 240 pp., $25)

When Andrew Ferguson attended Occidental College in the 1970s, colleges were already moving away from fussy old requirements like American history, English composition, and foreign languages, and towards the anything-goes curriculum of today. If he was not playing in his rock band, visiting a Zen center, or engaging in “a dozen other forms of fun that had nothing to do with traditional education,” Ferguson pursued classes like “Women in Film” and “Our Bodies Our Selves for Men.” But it was still the pre-self-esteem era, so when he went to his college counselor for career advice, she spoke bluntly: “You have

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