College Admissions books

In college admissions, knowledge is power. But with all the books and resources out there that are supposed to “simplify” the college admissions process, how can parents weed through them?

This is the list of books I recommend to families as they embark on their journey toward college.

The list is divided into the following sections:

  • Choosing the Right College
  • Selective College Admissions
  • Standardized Test Preparation
  • Athletic Recruiting

Choosing the Right College

Loren Pope’s guide to Colleges That Change Lives is a helpful place to start, especially for families whose children do not necessarily aspire to the pressure cooker that is the Ivy League. Loren Pope and his colleagues have identified 40 small colleges that are known for outstanding teaching. Some of the schools are selective; some are not. They each have different personalities and strengths. But what unites them all is an unwavering dedication to the education of the undergraduate.

If you like this book by Loren Pope, you might also be interested in his companion book, Looking Beyond the Ivy League.

Among the more traditional books with profiles of various colleges, I recommend Fiske’s Guide to Colleges and the Princeton Review’s listing of the 366 Best Colleges. Fiske provides quite a bit of insider information, while the Princeton Review offers most of the basic information anyone might need.

The weakness of both of these guides, however, is that they focus upon a very small fraction of the hundreds and hundreds of quality colleges and universities in America. By focusing upon the the 300 or so of the “name brands” in American education, they ignore many of the hidden gems that an experienced college counselor might identify.

Selective College Admissions

Don’t you just wish you could be a fly on the wall in an admissions committee meeting? Jacques Steinberg did just that, hanging out with the admissions office at Wesleyan College for a year. The resulting book, The Gatekeepers, is an insider’s view of the people and processes behind those closed doors. It’s a great read and a great way to gain some perspective on the admissions frenzy.

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