Weighted GPAs. Unweighted GPAs. AP scores. Dual Enrollment grades. Essays. Recommendation letters. More essays. SAT scores. ACT scores. PSAT scores. Composite scores. Writing Scores. Volunteer requirements. FAFSA. And that’s all before your child’s senior year of high school!
Overwhelmed yet? I bet you are!
But don’t fret, because there are numerous resources available to help you navigate the college application process, potentially making it a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable. Because seeing all the work you’ve done raising a college bound kid finally come to fruition doesn’t have to be something you groan through.
Rather, it can be a process you celebrate through.
These college admissions books, and other titles that will help you pay for college, have all the info you may need to help get that celebration started.
Note: We receive compensation from purchases made through some of the links on this page.
Best College Admissions Books
The Truth about College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together
by Rick Clark and Brennan Barnard
Rick Clark, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Georgia Tech, has written this excellent guide, offering families a chance to learn how admissions officers think about the college application process. Written with co-author Brennan Barnard, Director of College Counseling at The Derryfield School, this is THE admission guidebook for families that will take them through the entire college admissions process.
Fiske Guide to Colleges
by Edward B.Fiske
The Holy Bible of college rundowns, the Fiske guide has been rating and reporting on all things post high school education for over 35 years. When you don’t know where to start, start here.
Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges
by Loren Pope
Exceptionally researched and written, pick up this title if you’re looking to find the diamond in the rough of colleges. If you’re seeking more than football game and keg parties, and need a comprehensive and regionally targeted list of options and their academic offerings, don’t let this one get by you.
Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania
by Frank Bruni
This book is your first line of defense against the overly competitive and anxiety-laden process. Reassuringly, Bruni defends the fact that the college your child ends up attending is anything but the sole determining factor in what kind of successful future they will have.
College Essay Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admissions Essay
by Ethan Sawyer
The college application essay is the most difficult part of the college process, for many students. Ethan Sawyer, AKA The College Essay Guy, is here to help with his comprehensive guide to writing the college essay. Filled with tips, exercises and essays from students who gained admission to their top choice schools, this book will take the sting out of the essay-writing process for your teen (and you!)
College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step
by Robin Mamlet and Christine Van De Velde
With the help of 50 college admission deans, this is a definitive resource on the entire process from beginning to dorm move in day. Practical and very applicable advice, and a great one to have at your disposable to fill in the holes left by your high school guidance counselor. And the fact it uses well-timed humor at parts is a much appreciated bonus.
College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You
by Dr. Steven R. Antonoff
If Tinder wrote a book on finding your perfect college match, this would be it. Recently updated, it is revised and full of worksheets to help students begin the narrowing down process of college choices, this title also helps you find what college guidebook is right for you.
Countdown to College: 21 ‘To Do’ Lists for High School
by Valerie Pierce
The only checklist title out there, and one that covers your to-dos starting freshman year through senior year, Countdown is a comprehensive resource to ensure you have dotted all you “i’s” and crossed your “t’s,” and don’t miss a single deadline.
B+ Grades, A+ College Application: How to Present Your Strongest Self, Write a Standout Admissions Essay, and Get Into the Perfect School for You
by Joie Jager-Hyman
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need 10 AP classes, score in the 95% percentile on the SAT, and have a 5.0 GPA to get into college these days. B and C students have just as many great college options as valedictorians, and you can learn all about them in this guide written by a former Dartmouth admission officer. If you need help turning an average impression into a stellar one for college admissions, this book is for you.
How to Pay for College Books
Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents
by Zac Bissonnette
Here’s undeniable proof that graduating college debt free can be done. With smart and frugal tips and strategies on paying for college yourself, not bankrupting your parents, and still being able to graduate from a high quality university, Bissonnette wrote this best seller while still in college. Now that’s saying something.
Paying for College, 2019 Edition: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College (College Admissions Guides)
by Princeton Review, Kalman Chany
Including the latest FAFSA forms, guidelines, and help for the 2019-2020 year, Newsday proclaimed this to be a “first rate guide to the financial aid maze,” and covers everything you think you’re missing when it comes to funding college.”
The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2020: Billions of Dollars in Scholarships, Grants and Prizes
by Gen Tanabe and Kelly Tunable
At a whopping 784 +pages and subdivided into more categories than you thought you needed, this is your go to start book when seeking college funding other than student loans. Jam pack full of all the info you will need to apply for each of the entries, this is your one stop shop for all things scholarship.
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