THE FAILURE OF THE LAND-GRANTS AND THE MID-MAJORS.  Journalist Andrew Ferguson has a son apply to college, writes about the experience; Christina Hoff Sommers reviews the book.
Ferguson falls into "the bottom quintile of the lower upper middle class," a demographic of parents with huge ambitions for their kids but without the means to pay for elite private colleges, let alone fancy admissions counselors. So he resolves to be his son's own do-it-yourself admissions counselor. Ferguson devours insider's guides, visits Internet chat sites, swaps tips with other parents at parties, and slowly becomes an expert.
Mr Ferguson's son ultimately enrolls, the reviewer does not say reluctantly, at a large state university.  How much evidence must accumulate before the state universities recognize the excess demand for perceived quality and respond to it by, oh, strengthening the academic programs and tightening standards?

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