Preparing for College

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 The only disadvantage of libraries tends to be the out-of-date books on the shelves.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