In this revelatory book, Steinberg follows a college admissions officer and his eight counterparts through the daunting task of recruiting students nationwide, reading through each of their applications, and meeting behind closed doors to finalize the incoming class. In the process, he shows how the admission process at top colleges really works. (Education/Teaching). From the fall of 1999 to the spring of 2000, New York Times education reporter Jacques Steinberg was given unparalleled access to an entire admissions season at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. In that time, he discovered just how difficult it could be to winnow down a list of nearly seven thousand applicants to seven hundred freshmen for the class of 2004. Steinberg follows an admissions officer and his eight counterparts through the daunting task of recruiting students nationwide, reading through each of their applications, and meeting behind closed doors for a week in March to finalize the incoming class. He also recounts the personal experiences of a half dozen high school seniors of various ethnic and economic backgrounds as they struggle through the often byzantine selection process. Find out why: high SATs and many extracurricular activities are not always critical. A student's "story" can either be helpful or detrimental. One student with a 1480 SAT score and high grades can face stiff competition from another three thousand miles away whose board score is 900 and who has a handful of Ds on her report card. An officer peering into the application pool is often most excited to see a reflection of him-or herself staring back. The Gatekeepers is a suspenseful, highly readable account that moves from the applicant's high schools to the admissions office and back again to the student's homes, as the academic futures of thousands of young people hang in the balance.