The novelist and essayist Jack Seliger has written a helpful guide that will help undergraduates (and perhaps their parents, supporters and friends) understand the subtext - the unspoken - operation of higher education. "How Universities Work, or: What I Wish I’d Known Freshman Year: A Guide to American University Life for the Uninitiated" is available at his website, or in the attached pdf. If you're reading this page, this essay is worth your time.