Using equal portions of humor, know-how, and common sense, Homer E. Moyer ’64C provides the answers to these and countless other important questions in his book The Real-World Aptitude Test, or RAT, (Capital Books, 2001). What began as a half-teasing, half-earnest effort to prepare his oldest daughter for college at Emory has now appeared on the Washington Post bestseller list and sold more than twenty thousand copies. In August, Moyer was featured on “Good Morning, America.”

“The genesis was, when she started looking around at colleges, my wife and I asked ourselves whether our oldest daughter knew what she needed to know in order to navigate the real world,” Moyer says. The answer was a resounding “no,” and Moyer, a partner at a Washington, D.C. law firm, started spending nights and weekends compiling the valuable information that would see her through early adulthood. His daughter, Bronwen Newcott ’99C, had graduated from Emory, completed graduate school, and gotten married by the time he finished.

Moyer began with the basics–cars, cooking, money management–and then added sections on esoteric topics such as ballroom dancing, cards and gambling, and the art of conversation. The “test” is scored like the SAT, although the lion’s share of the book is devoted to the answers, including extensive lists of secondary reading and handy Web sites.

The RAT is proving a popular bedside-table reference book for college students and parents alike. “Most people who buy the book end up realizing there are things in it they can’t answer,” Moyer says. “The truth is, none of us would get [perfect] 800’s on this test, and that’s made it a lot of fun.”

The information provided ranges from the fairly sophisticated, such as a detailed description of compound interest, to more basic but critical advice. For example, in the lengthy section on “Rotten Food,” Moyer suggests: “There are several indicators that food in the refrigerator has gone bad; many are not particularly scientific. For example, if your refrigerator smells as though something in it is rotten, or something in it may have died, it probably contains food that has gone bad. . . . Cooking food that has gone bad will not make it okay.”–P.P.P.


Emory maintained its eighteenth-place ranking for the fourth year in a row among 249 national universities in this year’s U.S. News & World Report annual college quality rankings. Goizueta Business School was also ranked eighteenth in undergraduate business programs, up a notch from last year.

Emory’s rankings on the survey’s components included: twentieth in student selectivity, sixth in faculty resources, thirteenth in overall financial resources, twenty-third in graduation and retention, and ninteenth in alumni giving. A rank of sixth in faculty resources (20 percent of the final score)– based largely on faculty compensation and average class size–places Emory above Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford on this indicator.

Emory placed twenty-sixth in the magazine’s list of “Great Schools at Great Prices,” which considers both the net cost of attendance and the school’s academic quality.

Goizueta’s eighteenth place ranking for its undergraduate program by U.S. News comes in the wake of its seventeenth place ranking this year by the Wall Street Journal in its annual survey of MBA recruiters. It moves up from nineteenth last year on both lists.


© 2002 Emory University