Acceptance by David L. Marcus
Review by Ashley Huang
Journalist David L. Marcus embarks on a year-long journey with Oyster Bay High School in Long Island’s North Shore to tell a story of legendary guidance counselor Gwyeth Smith Jr, seven Class of 2008 seniors, and their college application journeys. The narrative is a mix of both a story and “tips-and-tricks” book, bulleting unconventional wisdom on college essays, scores, and scholarships.
This book taught me that every student, including myself, has a story to tell. Acceptance tells the tale of a mixed bag of students – from Jeff Sanders, a jock struggling to improve his grades, to Lee Kim, an overachiever who is tired of his Korean immigrant parent’s wishes, and Riana Tyson, a black student overwhelmed to get the college diploma her parents never got – and how they were all able to find the right college. I was surprised by each of the seven seniors, as they all had surprisingly meaningful stories, and all have gone through undoubtful hardships in their seventeen years. Most importantly, Acceptance defends counselor Smith’s argument that the college application is more of finding the right college, rather than finding the best college. I learned that the college application should be taken more personally, and there’s no need to try to become a cookie-cutter A-grade student with a mile-long list of volunteer experience. For me, Acceptance helped forge a path toward the right direction in the near future.