Preparing for College

Books about College

Those of you college-bound seniors out there have no doubt been deeply involved in your college application process lately. It's highly likely that most of you have already made your decisions about where you would like to go and to which schools you will be applying. For you high school juniors, your search and evaluation process may already be underway. If you're certain about going to college and you haven't begun thinking about starting your process, you should get started now. You'll be surprised how fast that first day of your senior year will arrive, and it's far better to hit the ground running on that day with a solid college plan in place.

For both seniors and juniors (and sophomores, too), there's an entire universe of help available for you out there, both on the Internet, inside books, and even through real live people. For the sake of our discussion today, though, I would like to limit help resources to books. I've written a book about the college process (long ago, though), so I'm familiar with the kinds of issues high school students face when dealing with all the pressure to produce winning applications. Since that book was published, there has been a huge sea change in the world of college admissions, due in no small part to technology and Internet developments and refinements.

So, in order to stay ahead of what's happening in this rapidly changing area, and to get a wide variety of opinions about how to deal with all of it, you might want to do what they refer to in graduate school as a “review of the literature." You would be surprised at how many college how-to books exist. In fact, just to satisfy my curiosity, I went to Amazon and searched for “books about college." I got this huge list that covered virtually every aspect of the college experience, from starting the college search process through actually applying, visiting, enrolling, and (for parents) letting go of your children when they head off to campus. All these merely scratch the surface. There are tons of other books that talk about paying for college, transferring to other schools, going to graduate school, searching for jobs at graduation … Well, you get the idea.

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