Jay Mathews

25 Hottest Universities

College Guide: It's that time of year again, when high-school seniors and their parents gear up for the admissions game. In excerpts from our annual newsstand issue, here's what you need to know about the newest trends.

Steroid Abuse: The Dangers Facing Teens

NEWSWEEK's list of America's best high schools, this year with a record 1,258 names, began as a tale of just two schools. They were Garfield High School, full of children of Hispanic immigrants in East Los Angeles, and Mamaroneck High School, a much smaller campus serving very affluent families in Westchester County, N.Y.

Test Wars

For one brief moment, after years of fear and loathing, America seemed ready to make peace with the SAT. When the University of California several years ago threatened to treat the test like a bad batch of cafeteria food and tell applicants not to buy it, the College Board junked the bewildering analogy questions (warthogs are to pigs as politicians are to what?), created a writing section (including producing an essay), added tougher math questions and more reading analysis--and had everybody...

America's Hot Colleges

For students looking to attend an American university, a few names have always loomed large: the eight Ivies, a few small institutions like Amherst and some celebrated state schools like the University of California, Berkeley.


Ah, serendipity. A generation ago, when Americans spoke of the best colleges, they had a pretty good idea: the oldest ones, a few of the biggest and not much else.


Dave Montesano spent 50 hours with Natasha Lalji. Her parents could afford his company's $3,200 fee, and the family wanted his advice on what would distinguish her from other students in the competition for a good college.


Admit it: we have a problem. This urge to get our kids into prestigious colleges is a sickness, and we are not handling it well. Our children may have a touch of the same illness, but they get over it fast.


They were a team: Kyle Sullivan-Jones, the teenager, with his father, Bruce Jones. Equipped with a $3,000 budget for bicoastal travel and application fees, along with a mutual determination not to lose touch with reality, together they would endure the college-admissions process.

The New College Game

In the college-admission season just past, Ben Weinberg was one of the hot prospects--1430 SAT, A-minus average at a very competitive private school, jazz pianist, tennis player and future biomedical researcher.

Daring To Be Different

Tests aren't the only way to judge a high school. In the past decade, educators around the country have created dozens of intriguing models for reform. They include virtual high schools where all classes are online and "theme" schools based on environmental issues or the health-care profession.

The Best High Schools

Nick Freeman, an honor-roll student at Clayton A. Bouton High School in the hilly Albany suburb of Voorheesville, N.Y., had nearly a 90 average in social studies and English.

Psst, Kid, Wanna Buy A. . .

Mathews is the author of "Escalante," a book about the calculus teacher who was featured in the movie "Stand and Deliver." No one suspected that a mathematics textbook series could ever become underground literature.

Undercover Bias Busters

Back in March 1991, Gale S. Molovinsky, head of the Executive Suite employment agency in Washington, D.C., welcomed Karen Baker into his office for a warm chat about her career.