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

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

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

The bestselling author of How Children Succeed returns with a devastatingly powerful, mind-changing inquiry into higher education in the U.S.
"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 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 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 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.


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The bestselling author of How Children Succeed returns with a devastatingly powerful, mind-changing inquiry into higher education in the U.S.
"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 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 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 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.


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