Best Books for College Admissions You Need to Read Right Now

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No matter where you are in the college admissions process, these books will help set you on the right path.

In college admissions, knowledge is power. But with all the books and resources out there that are supposed to make the college admissions process easier, how can you know how to weed through them? Well, don’t worry. Our team of writers hit the bookshelves to bring you this list of the best books on college admissions.

Fiske Guide to Colleges 2017 by Edward B.Fiske

 Fiske Guide to Colleges 2017 by Edward B.Fiske

Compiled by former New York Times education editor Edward B. Fiske, the top independent voice in college admissions, Fiske Guide to Colleges 2017 is a selective, subjective, and systematic look at 300+ colleges and universities.

Students and parents can discover the real personalities of each college based on a broad range of subjects, including student body, academics, social life, financial aid, campus setting, housing, food, co-curricular activities, etc.

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni

This book by Frank Bruni, a columnist for The New York Times, aims to help young people understand the title of his book.

“Where we go to college will have infinitely less bearing on our fulfillment in life than so much else: the wisdom with which we choose our romantic partners; our interactions with the communities that we inhabit; our generosity toward the families we inherit and the families that we make.” – Frank Bruni

Are You Smart Enough? How Colleges’ Obsession With Smartness Shortchanges Students, by Alexander W. Astin.

Are You Smart Enough? How Colleges’ Obsession With Smartness Shortchanges Students, by Alexander W. Astin.

This book delves into the many ways in which the obsession with “being smart” distorts the life of a typical college or university, and how this obsession leads to a higher education that shortchanges the majority of students, and by extension, our society’s need for an educated population.

The author calls on his colleagues in higher education to return the focus to the true mission of developing the potential of each student: However “smart” they are when they get to college, both the student and the college should be able to show what they learned while there.

Unfortunately, colleges and universities have embraced two very narrow definitions of smartness: the course grade and especially the standardized test. A large body of research shows that it will be very difficult for colleges to fulfill their stated mission unless they substantially broaden their conception to include student qualities such as leadership, social responsibility, honesty, empathy, and citizenship.

College Admissions Together: It Takes a Family by Steven Roy Goodman and Andrea Leiman.

This book will help you and your family lay the foundation for a successful, conflict-minimizing college search. The book addresses the realities of today’s college admissions process and suggests ways that the process itself can become a source of family bonding. By addressing the major educational and developmental factors that influence most college searches, you’ll find that both you and your family will face less conflict and that your child will improve her chances of finding and being admitted to the schools of her choice.


The Thinking Student’s Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education by Andrew Roberts.

This book  is more than a practical how to get into college book, though it does explain key aspects of today’s college admissions process for both parents and students. It is also a guide to healthy family relationships during the college admissions process. This invaluable book looks at the often stressful process of finding the right college for your child not as an ordeal but as an opportunity to bond as a family and to give your child safe passage to adulthood as he or she determines which colleges are the best fit.

Taking Time Off by Ron Lieber & Colin Hall.

According to the book’s authors, taking a break before, during, or after college may be the most sure-fire way of enriching your education. Hall and Lieber–only one of whom actually took a breather in the midst of his 16-year educational marathon–have profiled more than 30 such students. One worked as a research assistant in the Amazonian rain forest; another did grass-roots organizing for Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign; still others found employment as soldiers, models, or missionaries. And even less glamorous gigs are likely to build your character, not to mention your resume.