When you scan the array of college prep books, there are a scarily huge number of look-alike titles — all of which sound like crucial reading. Here, we’ve boiled it down to five great books that really get it right.
- Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College
This book is co-written by three academic experts. One author, Jon Reider, is a former admissions advisor at Stanford University. New York Times “The Choice” blog praises the book as, “thorough and psychologically sensitive, making it a good read for the overwhelmed or under-prepared student.” (And their parents, too.)
- The Best 381 Colleges, 2017 Edition: Everything You Need to Make the Right College Choice
Don’t be misled by the hyperbolic title and the Ivy publisher (Princeton Review); this book is fun! Two notable pats on the back: Seventeen magazine calls it, “Our favorite college guidebook,” and according to Rolling Stone, it’s “the most efficient of the college guidebooks… [with] entertaining profiles.”
- Colleges that Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges
Perfect for idealists old and young, this compendium features schools based on their reputation for fostering students’ personal growth.
- Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
This book is an eye-opener and helps diffuse the idea that there are only a handful of worthy schools. The Chicago Tribune praises the book for being, “a book that will broaden the conversation, make it a little saner, and go a long way toward helping parents maintain perspective.”
- Fiske Guide to Colleges 2016
This handy book is written by Edward B. Fiske, former education editor of the New York Times. This best-selling college guide delves into the unique personalities of the 322 best colleges and universities, with tips from current students and superb descriptions of each campus.
Want to steer your teenager toward parts of these books without being pushy? Use a yellow marker to highlight what you regard as exciting segments and choices in these five books. You can use different colors to indicate reach, target, and safety schools. Don’t highlight too many, unless your teen asks for additional help, and above all, let them know you respect their decisions.