Extra Credit

I just announced the new College Prepster Book Club book on Friday, but I have an extra credit read for you if you’re feeling daring.
The Overachievers
by Alexandra Robbins
I stumbled on this book while perusing the nonfiction section of the library.  (That is quite an intimidating section if you ask me.)  I honestly picked it up based on the cover.  Back in fifth grade my teacher was taking a photography class and used me as one of her subjects…. the picture on the cover reminded me of the pictures she took of me.  Subtract the cheerleading uniform and add a school uniform and substitute the soccer cleats for ballet shoes and that was pretty much me.
If you plan on attending a competitive high school.
Or if you do attend a competitive high school.
Or you have attended a competitive high school.
Of you have a son or daughter who plans on attending, is attending, or did attend a competitive high school….
Read. This. Book.
Nothing is a huge revelation.  I mean, I lived the book.  However, it’s eyeopening and can put things into perspective.  It’s sometimes a difficult task to evaluate yourself objectively, but hearing stories of characters that are so similar to you that it’s scary made me fully realize some of the sacrifices I’ve made.
It’s a lengthy book, but it’s filled with anecdotal and research.  It’s also a little dated, but I’m guessing the problems are only worse now.  (At one point the author has to explain what Facebook is… it was funny!)
I was straightening my hair a day or two after I finished the book.  While I was mindlessly running the flat iron over ringlets, I began questioning everything I had done.  
“Get straight A’s in high school,” I’d tell myself, “and you’ll be happy.” 
“Get into a good college, and you’ll be happy.”
“Write a book, and you’ll be happy.”
… it’s not that those things didn’t make me happy.  They did… but once it was accomplished, I always add another goal that will really make me happy.  It’s like I’m just checking things off a list.  There’s a brief feeling of relief and then you glance down and realize the list has only grown.
It’s definitely made me think a little more, but I’m glad I read this before entering my senior year (ahhhhh!) at Georgetown.  Because instead of “getting into a good college,” now I need to “get hired for a good job.”
Long story short- a really good read.

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Rachel from Love a la Mode

Wow, I'd be really interested in reading this… I went to a super competitive southern preparatory (international) boarding school. When I turned down scholarship offers to go to some of the "best" schools in America to go to a big state school, people thought I was insane. But it was the best decision I ever made for myself. I'd be really curious to hear what the author has to say about the impact of such pressure on young adults.


I read this book a few years ago on vacation and loved it! One of her other books, Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities, is also a fascinating read!


I really love this book! I would stop and read parts to my sister (ones that I liked) and it seemed as though I was stopping at every paragraph. I have bought it for my friends as well. I found out about it b/c of the movie Race to Nowhere. Her Pledged book is really good as well, but I can't really get into her secret society one…


Thanks so much for the suggestion! I attend the epitome of competitive high schools- if you don't go Ivy League and receive three Division I sports scholarships, you might as well not have graduated. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I'm glad that the issue of over-demanding schools is finally being addressed.


This book is so good! I read it after my freshman year of college and sympathized with many characters in the book. It made me realize how much of the high school experience I sacrificed due to overachieving, and how it potentially (at that time) took an extreme toll on my emotional/mental health at such a young age.


Haha that book is actually about my high school! We're a bit ridiculous/overcompetitive… Although we don't rank, so that was a nice relief from what it was like at your high school, Carly!


Wow, I really want to read this! I go to an extremely competitive high school and there's always the pressure to be good at everything!


I have not read this one but I took issue with her first book, Pledged. A lot of the pressures she spoke about – drinking, drugs, being thin, boys, etc. are not exclusive to sorority girls. They are things that many girls in college face, regardless of their greek status. Particularly big or "party" campuses. Fascinating read, but this generalization really turned me off in the end.

Annica Benning

I hate to admit it, but I am one to judge a book by its cover. And this cover just seems interesting and worthwhile. I can't wait to pick it up.


This school was my rival high school and I did an essay on the subject. While this is very true of this high school its important to remember to have fun, you are only a kid once!


I don't agree with Anonymous above, I loved Pledged. As a sorority sister, it really gave me confidence to be whoever I want to be while still embracing and loving the greek system. It also talks about social structures and gender dominance (men controlling women) if you are interested in either! I used it for a womens and gender studies class paper and had so much to write about! She's an excellent author and really gives her research 100%. It is amazingly hard to get into the greek system. I think what you need to focus on in the book is how predominant the issues of drinking, drugs, being thin and boys are in greek life, and how that is the culture at most schools. If you're in a sorority, check it out, it's worth it.


Wow I'm a senior in high school, and what you said pretty much sums up my life. I tell myself getting all As will make me happy, once I get into an ivy league I will be happy. You have to sacrifice a lot when you want to do well, and in the end I feel everyone wants to impress their classmates and teachers with what there and doing and what school we are going to go to.

I am personally never satisfied with myself and I push myself beyond lmits and have many goals. I also hate coming from a competitive class, my high school haunt had such a competiitive class. You wouldn't believe how some honors kids act somtimes.

I think I'm going to read this book 🙂