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Articles / Applying to College / Are there any good books about college applications?

Feb. 11, 2002

Are there any good books about college applications?

Question: Are there any good books on the best way to handle college applications?

There are many. That's why it pays to be selective. The places you need to look include your local public library, bookstores, and the Internet.


I have always been a fan of public libraries. The only disadvantage of libraries tends to be the out-of-date books on the shelves. When you're dealing with college information, the situation can change very quickly in the areas of tuition, room and board, and fees. The nature of available programs can change quickly also. That's why you need to check the publication date of the book you're using. Books published before 1998 will probably be useful for only general information.

One book you may care to investigate is "Scaling the Ivy Wall in the '90s," by Green and Minton.

Although the book is targeted at how to go the distance in preparing to apply to the so-called highly selective colleges and universities, there is a wealth of information for everyone in this book. You'll find chapters on how to market yourself in the best possible light to colleges, application essay writing, and financial aid. One of the most useful chapters concerns the truth about the college admission process. The authors are experts on how to get into college. One used to be an admission officer for an Ivy League university. If you read only one book this summer, this should be the one.

Another good book is published by The Princeton Review: "America's 311 Best Colleges." Of all the different guide books around, this one cuts through the fog quicker than any. It rates a wide variety of schools and gives the inside scoop on what they're really like. I have had personal experience evaluating their comments and have found them to be very accurate. You'll probably have to find the latest version of this book in a bookstore.

Finally, in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, let me recommend

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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