Author, speaker, expert college admissions coach.


“A superb guide for parents and students about the realities of college admissions process.”

Universal acclaim for Dave Marcus and “Acceptance”


“Excellent … I grade Marcus and Acceptance A+ for presenting an engaging, indispensably informative book.”
Bloomberg News
“Absorbing … Marcus knows about the inner lives of teens and teachers, and knows how to write about them.”
Boston Globe
“Poignant… This refreshing look at the college admissions process reads like a novel and is likely to shock parents and overachievers who cling to the notion that admittance is dependent only upon class rank and test scores. Highly recommended for parents and college-bound students.”
Library Journal
“Wonderfully enjoyable.”
Publishers Weekly
“Acceptance is the perfect book to keep by your beach chair… read Acceptance and share it with your friends and neighbors.”
“Acceptance will be a must-read for both my husband and college-bound daughter… the descriptions, anecdotes, and chance to be a close observer of these kids’ college search opened my eyes to both the process and how to approach my child as she tackles her own. Marcus gives readers Mr. Smith’s refreshing take on the methods of college search madness. –New York Times
The Choice blog
“A detailed and surprisingly emotional account.”
Michele Martin, host, NPR’s Tell Me More.
“The winning story of a bunch of kids at Long Island’s Oyster Bay High School… Marcus is a pro at the narrative nonfiction form…”
Newsday (reviewed by Marion Winik)
“Marcus’ engaging and inspiring narration reveals the mounting challenges teens face today and the resiliency that often exceeds their years. Acceptance offers an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at the college admissions process.”
“A superb guide for parents and students about the realities of college admissions process.”
Arthur Levine, President Emeritus, Teachers College, Columbia University
“This is a perfect book for college applicants, their parents, high school counselors, and those of us in higher education who bear some responsibility for the admission of our undergraduates. The reader will be rewarded by gaining a great education about college admissions as a life-changing process.”
Dr. H. Keith H. Brodie, MD, President Emeritus, Duke University
“Acceptance proves that solid students have more attractive alternatives than they ever imagined.”
Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame
“Acceptance offers advice that is right no matter where a student applies.”
Richard Nesbitt, director of admissions, Williams College
“In this moving, funny, and deeply humane book, David Marcus reveals the college application process in all its bewildering detail and emotional complexity. This is a book whose message should be pondered, not only by those students and parents who struggle so hard to get through the gates of higher education, but also by those of us educators who serve as its gatekeepers.”
Colin Diver, President of Reed College
“As one who has served both as an admissions counselor and admissions director, as well as a college president for 24 years, I recognized the stories and was impressed by their telling. This is a beautifully crafted guide, narrative, and source of inspiration.”
Robert A. Scott, President, Adelphi University
“So powerfully readable, you’ll want to make your way through an intense year of questioning and decision-making in the span of a day.”
Pamela Paul, author of Parenting, Inc.
“Marcus offers a vision of the college application process done right – thoughtful, sensitive, and decidedly not one-size-fits-all. In a world where college admissions is so often portrayed as cut-throat and de-humanizing, Acceptance reminds students and their families that the college search can be an affirming and life-changing journey in itself.”
Barry Mills, President, Bowdoin College
“Happier and more satisfied students (and parents) should be the outcome for those who embrace David Marcus’s book. Acceptance should be a ‘must read’ for all prospective students and their parents.”
Lee Stetson, former dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania
“A compelling drama … this book will give readers a refreshing dose of reality about the college-application process.”
Hara Estroff Marano, author of A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting
“Watching Smitty help college-bound students make meaningful decisions about the shape and character of their lives will inspire anyone who cares for young people.”
Leon Botstein, President, Bard College
“Finally, a book about college admissions that gets it right. Amen! This is a “must-read” for anyone who wants to preserve the college admissions process as a positive growth experience and not one that leaves the applicant emotionally fragile, exhausted and ultimately cynical about education itself.
William G. Durden, President, Dickinson College
“The narrative masterfully illustrates the importance of self-discovery in the choice of a college.”
Peter Van Buskirk, Author, Winning the College Admission Game
“Acceptance focuses on the part of the college search process that really matters: students learning about themselves as they apply… It’s a realistic and engaging read.”
Audrey Smith, dean of enrollment, Smith College
“In American suburbia, it is now taken as gospel that there is no decision more significant than choosing the right college — and no accomplishment more exalted than getting in. David Marcus and the man at the heart of Acceptance, counselor Gwyeth Smith, are the best possible guides to these new realities, as they both understand teenagers even better than teens understand themselves.”
Linda Perlstein, author of Tested: One American School Struggles to Make the Grade
“A well-written account of a wonderfully sensible guidance counselor who shows students … why their educations, and future lives, will be much richer if they carefully select among the many fine colleges where chances of admission aren’t as low as a state lottery.”
Jay Mathews, Washington Post education columnist and author of Harvard Schmarvard
“Gwyeth Smith is one of the last great college counselors. The way he helps a student understand his or her potential is unique, powerful, and well captured by Dave Marcus.”
John Katzman, founder of Princeton Review

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