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Table of Contents
PART I THE BIG PICTURE
1. DON’T SKIP THIS CHAPTER! 3
Getting into college is not as hard as it looks— the real challenges and opportunities
2. IS THERE A “SECRET” TO ADMISSION? 12
There is no “secret,” but it’s not random ■ Understanding what colleges want ■ The perfect candidate may be imperfect— but authentic
PART II GETTING ORGANIZED
3. THE 9TH AND 10TH GRADES: BEFORE YOU BEGIN . . . 19
When and how to start ■ Dialing down the anxiety
4. COLLEGE COUNSELORS AND ADVISORS 27
The high school counselor, a powerful advocate for the student ■
Private counselors— the benefits and drawbacks ■ How colleges interact with counselors ■ Overpackaged applicants
PART III BECOMING COLLEGE- BOUND
5. THE ACADEMIC RECORD 51
The cornerstone of the application ■ Defining a challenging curriculum ■
How to select courses ■ Course work options: electives, honors courses,
international baccalaureate programs, and advanced placement classes ■
How many APs? ■ Grades and the GPA ■ Class ranking ■ Grade inflation ■ How colleges evaluate your grades and courses ■ Achieving balance between high grades, demanding courses, and personal time
6. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 66
The myths about extracurricular activities ■ Beyond the classroom: sports,
community service, summer programs, school clubs and activities, jobs and work experience, international programs ■ Activity lists and resumes ■ What colleges are really looking for ■ Depth versus breadth, passion, leadership, and hooks ■
The strategy that works: pursuing genuine interests ■ Well rounded or specialist
■ How students can figure out who they are and what really interests them
7. TAKING THE TESTS 82
Standardized testing: the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, ACT, and SAT subject tests ■
The National Merit Scholarship Program ■ What the tests evaluate ■ When to test ■ Making a testing plan ■ Optimal preparation ■ Coaching: does it work?
■ Test- taking techniques ■ Testing reasonably: how many times to take the test
■ Test- optional schools ■ Scores ■ How colleges view standardized tests ■
The controversy surrounding standardized testing
PART IV WHERE TO APPLY
8. CREATING AN INITIAL LIST OF COLLEGES 109
The four- step strategy for creating your initial list ■ Evaluating the student and the schools ■ Researching the schools ■ Information sources and selection criteria ■ Covering all the bases with “statistical reach,” “ possible,” “probable,”
and “solid” schools ■ Rankings— the controversy, the benefits, the pitfalls ■
Selectivity— where a student fits into a school competitively ■ How to think about cost ■ Reference guide overview ■ How to get started and when to stop adding to your list
9. COLLEGE VISITS 137
When to visit ■ Tours, group information sessions, overnight stays, meetings with faculty or coaches, and classroom visits ■ Setting up appointments ■ Campus visit etiquette ■ Getting off the beaten path on campus ■ Questions to ask tour guides and admission officers ■ The proper role for parents
10. TURNING YOUR INITIAL LIST INTO YOUR APPLICATION LIST:
THE EIGHT TO TEN COLLEGES WHERE YOU WILL APPLY 155
Identifying patterns that show where a student will thrive ■ Balancing what students want with where they fit ■ Assessing a student’s chances of admission ■
The “right” number of schools to apply to ■ Balancing the list ■ Demonstrated interest ■ Don’t get hung up on the “name game” ■ The right school isn’t always obvious
PART V APPLYING
11. COLLEGE INTERVIEWS 171
Informational versus evaluative interviews ■ Admission offi ce interviews ■
Alumni interviews ■ Scheduling ■ What happens step by step ■ What not to wear ■ Critical preparation ■ Questions to ask ■ Admission offi ce etiquette
12. RECOMMENDATIONS 189
The role recommendations play in admission ■ FERPA— waiving privacy rights ■ Whom to ask ■ How to ask ■ Supplemental recommendations ■
13. ESSAYS 202
What colleges look for ■ Self- reflection is critical ■ Basic writing advice ■
The long essay or personal statement ■ The sh*#@ty fi rst draft and the nine drafts that follow ■ Short essays ■ Dos and don’ts ■ Plagiarism ■ How much help is too much ■ How the essay shows a student is a good match for a school
14. THE APPLICATION FORM 223
The infrastructure of the admission fi le ■ The Common Application ■ Mistakes to avoid ■ Information integrity ■ Criminal convictions and disciplinary actions
■ Last- minute must- dos ■ Submission of supplemental materials ■ What your signature means ■ Deadlines
PART VI TIMING
15. DECISION PLANS 243
When to apply ■ Regular decision ■ Rolling admission ■ Early action ■
Restricted early admission ■ Early decision I and II ■ Who should apply early
■ Who should not apply early ■ Early programs and financial aid ■ The colleges’
philosophy and strategy behind early programs ■ What it means to sign on the dotted line ■ Options for students deferred or denied under early plans
PART VII PAYING
16. FINANCIAL AID 265
Does my family qualify for aid? ■ Financial aid calculators and getting an early estimate of what you will pay ■ Need- based aid ■ FAFSA ■
CSS Profile ■ Merit- based aid and scholarships ■ How to find merit aid ■
Scholarship search services ■ Scams ■ Deadlines ■ The financial aid package:
grants, loans, work- study ■ Evaluating your financial aid awards ■ Financial planning ■ How to ask for more aid ■ Glossary of terms
PART VIII DECIDING
17. NOTIFICATION AND MAKING THE DECISION 301
You’re in ■ How to decide: return visits, problem solving, and other decisionmaking tools ■ Waitlist strategies ■ Denials ■ A gap year ■ Dealing with disappointment ■ Senioritis: don’t succumb ■ Sharing the news ■ A final checklist ■ The last steps: the reply, the deposit, the thank- yous
PART IX SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
18. STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL TALENTS 319
Athletes: Division I, II, and III programs ■ Timing ■ Creating the list of schools
■ Scholarships ■ National Letters of Intent ■ Artists: Deciding between an arts program and an arts school ■ Submission of supplementary materials ■
19. STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES 335
Students with learning differences or physical or emotional challenges ■
Home- schooled students: Providing a narrative for the transcript ■ Testing
■ Demonstrating academic readiness ■ Accommodations ■ Disclosure ■
Documentation ■ Making the right match ■ Undocumented students: The challenges: researching your possibilities, completing the application, financial aid, where to go for help ■ Legacies and major donors: Special consideration ■
Etiquette for those with family ties ■ Influence and its implications
20. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 347
Navigating the American college system ■ Testing ■ Credential evaluation ■
Financial aid ■ Advice for foreign nationals applying from U.S. high schools and
U.S. citizens applying from abroad
21. TRANSFERS 357
Making the case for making a change: testing, essays, interviews, and letters of recommendation ■ Eligibility, articulation agreements, and transfer of credits
PART X APPENDICES
I TIMELINE: THE PATH TO COLLEGE 369
II A RECOMMENDED COURSE OF STUDY 374
III WORKSHEETS 376
IV RESOURCES 380
V SAT/ACT CONCORDANCE TABLES 385
Pay Attention When Early Plans Are Discussed
You may hear early action and early decision lumped together and discussed under the single heading of “early programs.” This is appropriate at times. For example, depending on the colleges on your list, your consideration of whether to apply early may encompass early action and an early decision option. But EA and ED are very different plans, with distinct rules, requirements, deadlines, and notification dates. Each has advantages or disadvantages depending on the applicant. In addition, the schools to which you are applying may offer both EA and ED plans. And deadlines and notification dates can be different from school to school, with some schools offering both EA and ED or even multiple rounds of
EA or ED. Pay close attention to the designation of the plan being discussed and the specific details of the decision plans at each college on your list as you consider where, when, and if you will apply under an early plan.
Restrictive Early Action
This option is offered by only a handful of colleges, but if a school you are interested in happens to be one of them, then you need to understand it.
Restrictive early action is a nonbinding plan where students apply to a first- choice school early and receive an early decision. Students have until May 1 to respond to an offer of admission. You may apply to other colleges under regular or nonbinding rolling admission plans, but may not apply to any other school under early action, early decision, or REA. Students should check the website of any college where they are applying REA to understand if there are further restrictions. There are three outcomes under restrictive early action: acceptance, denial, and deferral. If accepted, the student has until May 1 to respond. If deferred, the student’s application is moved to the regular decision pool for later consideration. If you are deferred, you should follow the advice on page 250 for students who are deferred under early decision plans. If you are denied under REA, you cannot reapply for consideration under RD.
You Don’t Have to Jump on the Early Bandwagon
“I want to apply early— I just don’t know where.” If that’s how you’re thinking about this, think again. Students report a lot of pressure to apply early. It comes from peers, parents, newspaper headlines— and sometimes it comes from oneself. In October of senior year, it may seem like everyone is jumping on the early bandwagon. But there is nothing wrong with sitting out this round and opting for more time and the greater choice it allows. There are distinct advantages to waiting and applying regular decision. Before you jump on the early bandwagon, seriously consider whether it’s right for you. We’ve provided a list of questions to help you figure that out on page 250.
Does Applying Early Improve My Chances?
Whether applying early improves your chances is the wrong question. The better question is: “For the colleges on my list, am I a suitable candidate for an early program and do I want to take advantage of that option?” After all, it’s not really an advantage to be accepted early at a school if you haven’t decided you really want to go there. That said, we know you would like us to try to answer this question. Unfortunately, the answer is that it’s situational and complicated— and involves a lot of inside baseball about the college admission office. Here it is:
Whether or not there is an advantage to applying early will vary from school to school and from applicant to applicant at each school. At schools that want to fill their classes with students who have made a commitment to the college through early decision or made it clear that they are sincerely interested by submitting their application through early action, there may be an advantage. But at other schools, applying early will make no difference. You just apply earlier and find out earlier. For some schools, the early plan may be the most competitive part of the admission cycle; at others, it could be the least competitive. For example, when the admit rate for early applications is higher than the admit rate under regular decision, you can’t necessarily conclude that there is an advantage. It may be that the candidates were stronger statistically, or that they just happened to meet other institutional priorities of the college. Students who apply early are often statistically among the strongest students a college will admit— these students are not relying on first- semester senior- year grades and November scores to boost their candidacy. Also, special- circumstance groups— such as athletes or legacies— may be steered toward the early pool, which can skew the statistics in a way that is difficult to sort out without a lot of inside information. One thing is for sure: applying early is no solution for weak grades or other problems a student may have. As Wesleyan dean of admission Nancy Meislahn has said, “Applying early does not have a Rumpelstiltskin effect: you can’t spin C’s into A’s.” As you can see, for every generalization about applying early creating an advantage, there are many exceptions. Because of this, it’s important that students and families not use an early plan merely to game the system. Applying early as a strategy works only if you know it’s your first- choice school and if you definitely want to go there— and then it’s not a strategy but a natural outgrowth of your interest.
KNOW THE JARGON . . .
The admit rate is the percentage of applicants admitted by a college among those who applied. The admit rate is calculated by dividing the number of students admitted to a college by the number of students who applied to that college.
ADVANTAGES Rolling Admission, Early Action, and Restrictive
Early Action Plans Have These Advantages in Common:
• An early answer without a required commitment to enroll.
• Unrestricted choice.
• Time. You have until May 1 so are able to consider all your options as decisions come in from other schools to which you have applied.
• An acceptance takes some of the pressure off and a denial allows you to move on and concentrate on the other schools on your list, any one of which you should be happy to attend.
• Students and their families have the opportunity to consider and compare financial aid awards from multiple schools and weigh that information into their choice.
Students: Do the Right Thing
You have applied under early action, rolling admission, or restrictive early action and you’re in. Congratulations. We now encourage you to do the right thing. If you know you will not enroll at some of the other colleges on your list, don’t apply to them. Go back through that original list and cross off those schools. Or if you’ve already sent in your applications, let those colleges know your plans. Don’t collect trophies in the form of admission letters from colleges you will never attend.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Some colleges very much want to make their case to you even if you have been admitted to another college under rolling admission, early action, or restrictive early action. If there are schools on your list you can still imagine you might attend, feel welcome to keep your options alive provided you are open to the case those colleges will make. And if you need to compare financial aid or merit scholarship awards, you will definitely want to proceed with applications to the other schools on your list.
As you can see, this isn’t simple. But matters of integrity rarely are. Think carefully, and for any school where you would just be collecting another acceptance letter, let that college know your decision as soon as possible so they can offer your seat to another student who wants to attend.
Early decision plans require careful consideration, because they are binding. Students apply to one school early, are notified of a decision early, and agree to enroll if admitted. If you are applying ED, you are saying that you are positive that this school is your first choice and that you will enroll if accepted. There are three possible outcomes in early decision: acceptance, denial, or deferral. If you are accepted ED, you must immediately withdraw any applications you have submitted to other schools. You can notify the colleges by email, but make sure your email is acknowledged. If it is not acknowledged, follow up your email with a letter and save a copy for your records. If you have been accepted at a school with rolling admission in the meantime, let that college know immediately that you will not enroll. If you are deferred under early decision, you will be reconsidered with the regular pool of applicants. You do not have to reapply. Our best advice if you’re deferred: update your application. Colleges will typically have a form that requests any new information on grades, testing, extracurricular activities, or achievements. You should also send an email or letter indicating that you are still very interested in attending the college, highlighting for the admission office anything new in your life. If the college says they will welcome additional information, consider sending in an additional essay or a class paper you’re proud of. If you are denied early decision, you will not be reconsidered. This may seem harsh, with the denial coming right around the holidays. But accept it as valuable guidance. The school is sending you a strong signal early on that you’re not in the running and will be best served by placing your attention elsewhere— on your applications to the other wonderful schools on your list. An early decision plan is a great alternative for those students who are in a position to use it properly. Because it is binding, you will need to carefully consider the following:
• Have you fully investigated your options by researching the schools on your list early, and spent a significant amount of time on at least several of their campuses?
• Is the college to which you are applying ED your first choice? In other words, of all the places that you are applying, would you definitely enroll here even if you got in everywhere? And have you felt this way for a period of time, not just a couple of days?
• Have you visited the college, observed classes, and had an overnight stay, if possible?
• Do you change your mind easily about what you like and what is important to you?
• Do you understand how your grades and test scores fit into the college’s academic profile?
• Do you understand how the college implements its ED plan? For example, of the students they are seeking who have a strong desire to attend, are they focusing on those who are the most competitive academically, or those who are at the bottom of their academic profile?
ADVANTAGES Early Decision
• Colleges want students who will be thrilled to be there. Applying ED lets the college know you have decided it’s the one you most want to attend.
• Cost savings. If you are accepted ED, you’ve fi led just one application and paid only one fee (although you will want to have your other applications ready to go, just in case).
• A less stressful senior year. ED frees students from the anxiety of waiting to hear from multiple schools.
• Once you are admitted, you can start getting to know the school where you will spend the next four years— bonding and networking with the college and your classmates via social media and admitted student visits.
• You are done! Enjoy your senior year.
If you are applying early under any decision plan, you should proceed with preparing your applications to the other schools on your list as though your early application did not exist. But you may want to wait to press send on your regular decision applications until you learn whether or not you’ve been admitted early.
Does Early Decision Fill Most of the Seats in the Freshman Class?
“The college you’re applying to has filled half its freshman class with early decision applicants!” You may have heard things like this and worried there won’t be enough room left if you apply under regular decision. But this is a case where the numbers are deceiving. Let’s do the math. The question is not how many seats are being taken up in the class by applicants who applied under early decision. The question is, what percentage of the school’s total admission offers is already gone? It sounds incredible, but it’s true that even when half the seats are filled with ED applicants, fewer than half the acceptances have been given out. Here’s how it works. Say a highly selective college can only enroll ten students in its freshman class, and five are accepted early decision. Because the ED process required their prior commitment to attend if accepted, the college knows for sure they are coming. Yes, that leaves five spots to be filled in next year’s class under regular decision. But remember that the dean of admission knows that students accepted through the regular decision process haven’t precommitted to actually attend. In fact, on average for this hypothetical but not untypical college, only about half will. The college can admit ten students under its RD process to fill the remaining five seats. So the college will actually admit fifteen students total. When five acceptances were given early decision, that wasn’t half the fat envelopes— it was only one- third. Two- thirds are still left for the regular decision process. No reason to panic.
The Early Decision Agreement
If you apply under an early decision plan, you must submit an Early Decision Agreement. This form can be found at www.commonapp.org, with any other electronic application provider’s form, or as a part of a college’s unique form. The ED Agreement is a contract whereby the student agrees to enroll if accepted and to immediately withdraw all applications submitted to other colleges. The ED Agreement is signed by the student, a parent, and the high school counselor. It is submitted by the high school counselor.
Colleges take this contract seriously. Read it fully and make sure you understand what you are committing to by signing it. If you fail to abide by its terms and, for example, apply to more than one college early decision, your acceptances at both schools may be rescinded. Note that you have agreed to let the college to which you’re applying share your name and ED Agreement with other institutions. Students sign a similar agreement when applying under a restrictive early action plan.
Colleges handle financial aid differently under each type of decision plan. Some schools release financial aid decisions beginning on a specific date, typically around March 1. Other schools provide families with either a financial aid award or an estimated financial aid award with the offer of admission or shortly thereafter. This award will be updated and confirmed in the spring. If your information remains the same, you can assume the award will remain the same. Students should check each school’s financial aid website carefully for deadlines and notification dates. Take advantage of any opportunities to ask questions of admission or financial aid officers at each school so you can understand how financial aid is handled under each decision plan. We’ve provided some questions for you on page 256. See Chapter 16 for further information on financial aid. Also, note that the early decision plan presents a special case where you will receive an award only from the ED college and there will be no opportunity to receive or compare aid packages from other colleges.
How Do Your Grades and Scores Figure into Your Decision to Apply Under an Early Plan?
Much of the advice you will receive about applying under an early plan— early action, early decision, or restrictive early action— will be to apply only if your grades and test scores place you in the top half of that college’s academic profile. For many of you, this is great advice. But for some of you, it’s not. Whether or not this is good advice will depend upon the schools on your list and the goals those schools have for their early plans. In order to understand how your grades and scores should figure into your decision to apply early, you will need to understand:
• Where your grades and scores fit into the college’s academic profile.
• The pattern of your grades. Are they going up, down, or staying the same?
• The college’s philosophy and practice with regard to its early plan.
• How your grades and test scores fit into that philosophy and practice.
What does all that mean? Here’s an example. Every class has a bottom group of students. Some schools may want that group to be made up of the students who most want to be there, not those who would have been just as happy at another college. So applying early to such a school might make sense for a student whose grades and scores are not in the top half of that college’s academic profile. On the other hand, if the college’s approach is to select their strongest students during an early plan cycle, then you might want to wait and apply during the regular decision cycle if your grades are on an upward trajectory with your strongest marks yet to come. You know how to evaluate your grades and scores and where you fall in the academic profile of the college (remember, it was in Chapter 8). But where do you find out how the colleges on your list implement their early plans? Your best bet is to discuss it with your high school counselor. Or call and talk to the admission officer at the college— tell her your grades and scores and ask for her best advice about applying under an early plan. You may not be able to obtain a definitive answer. But don’t worry about this too much. There are many factors that you may want or need to take into account to determine whether or not applying early is an appropriate decision for you. This is simply one of those factors. This is not a way to game the system. You should do what feels right for you and what works best for your family.
Is Applying Early a Good Idea for Me?
To help you decide what might be right for you, consider the following questions in order. The more yes answers you can give, the more applying early might be your best approach.
• If you’re considering early decision, start here and work your way through all the questions below.
• Of all the colleges on your list, is this the school where you would unquestionably enroll?
• Is your first- choice school an environment that fits you well, but also a place where you can change and grow?
• Have you felt the school where you are going to apply early decision is your first choice for more than a few days or weeks?
• Do you and your parents agree that if you are given a reasonable financial aid package, you will attend the school even if other colleges were to offer you stronger financial aid packages or a merit scholarship?
• If you’re considering early action or restrictive early action, start here:
• Do your junior- year grades and classes support an early application, relative to the philosophy and practice of the college to which you’re applying?
• Have you completed all standardized testing by October of your senior year?
• Considering your commitments to extracurricular activities or work, will you be able to complete your application by November?
• Are you a student with a special talent, such as an athlete, or a special circumstance, such as a legacy applicant? If so, see Chapter 18 or 19.
A project of this scope and comprehensiveness is not possible without the contributions of many. We would like to acknowledge all of the individuals who made this book possible with a heartfelt thank- you.
FIRST AND FOREMOST
THE DEANS OF ADMISSION
Amy Abrams, Sarah Lawrence College
Seth Allen, Grinnell College
Philip A. Ballinger, University of Washington
Nancy Benedict, Beloit College
Michael Beseda, St. Mary’s College of California
Donald Bishop, Notre Dame University
Tamara Blocker, Wake Forest University
Jim Bock, Swarthmore College
Jon Boeckenstedt, DePaul University
Jeff Brenzel, Yale University
Shawn Brick, University of California
Thyra Briggs, Harvey Mudd College
Nancy Cable, Bates College
Arlene Cash, Spelman College
Mary Chase, Creighton University
Douglas L. Christiansen, Vanderbilt University
Carmina Cianciulli, Tyler School of Art, Temple
Robert S. Clagett, Middlebury College
Lee Coffi n, Tufts University
Dennis Craig, Purchase College
Vince Cuseo, Occidental College
Charles Deacon, Georgetown University
Randall C. Deike, New York University
Tom Delahunt, Drake University
Jennifer Delahunty, Kenyon College
Rick Diaz, Southern Methodist University
Stephen M. Farmer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
William Fitzsimmons, Harvard University
Patricia Goldsmith, Scripps College
Christopher Gruber, Davidson College
Christoph Guttentag, Duke University
Katharine L. Harrington, University of Southern
Pamela T. Horne, Purdue University
Monica Inzer, Hamilton College
Jeannine Lalonde, University of Virginia
Maria Laskaris, Dartmouth College
John Latting, The Johns Hopkins University
Jean Lee, Yale University
Jess Lord, Haverford College
Garrett Marino, Purchase College
Quinton McArthur, Massachusetts Institute of
Kitty McCarthy, Northern Illinois University
Nancy Hargrave Meislahn, Wesleyan
Richard Nesbitt, Williams College
Alton Newell, Washington & Jefferson College
Jim Nondorf, University of Chicago
Tom Parker, Amherst College
Delsie Phillips, formerly of Lynn University
Bruce Poch, formerly of Pomona College
Jenny Rickard, Bryn Mawr College
Lorne T. Robinson, Macalester College
Arnaldo Rodriguez, Pitzer College
Nancy M. Rothschild, Syracuse University
Daniel J. Saracino, formerly of University of
Stuart Schmill, Massachusetts Institute of
Richard H. Shaw, Stanford University
Ted Spencer, University of Michigan
Fumio Sugihara, University of Puget Sound
Steven T. Syverson, Lawrence University
Steve Thomas, Colby College
Roger Thompson, University of Oregon
Keith Todd, Reed College
Kelly Walter, Boston University
James Washington, Jr., Dartmouth College
Christopher Watson, Northwestern
Rebekah Westphal, Yale University
Jarrid Whitney, California Institute of
Susan A. Wilbur, formerly of University of
FINANCIAL AID OFFICERS
Vincent Amoroso, Johns Hopkins University
Leslie Limper, Reed College
Mary Morrison, Stanford University
Alison Rabil, Duke University
Diane Stemper, Ohio State University
HIGH SCHOOL COLLEGE COUNSELORS
Charlene Aguilar, Lakeside School,
Ali Bhanji, formerly of Potomac School,
Natalie Bitton, Lycée Français La Pérouse, San
Melanie Choukrane, The Brearley School, New
Mark Clevenger, Menlo School, Atherton, CA
James Conroy, New Trier High School,
Neal Cousins, The Haverford School,
Susan Dean, Castilleja School, Palo Alto, CA
Jeff Haviland, Strath Haven High School,
Deb Kelly, Newman Central Catholic High
School, Sterling, IL
Alice Kleeman, Menlo- Atherton High School,
Laura Stewart, The Ensworth School,
Marybeth Kravets, formerly of Deerfield High
School, Deerfield, IL
Brad Magowan, Newton North High School,
Rod Skinner, Milton Academy, Milton, MA
Patricia Ustick, formerly of Portsmouth School and East Greenwich High School, East
Jan Williams, formerly of Dartmouth High
School, Dartmouth, MA
Denise Clark Pope, Stanford University School of Education, founder of Challenge Success
Gina Coleman, Williams College
Linda DeAngelo, Higher Education Research
Institute, University of California,
Emily Froimson, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
Leslie Hawkins, Higher Education Research
Institute, Graduate School of Education and
Information Studies, University of California,
Fred Mims, associate director of athletics,
University of Iowa
Holly Thompson, Castilleja School, Palo Alto, CA
Bruce VanDeVelde, athletics director, Louisiana
Belinda Wilkerson, Rhode Island School
Counseling Project, Providence College
MaryJo Yannacone, principal, Strath Haven High
School, Swarthmore, PA
Scott Anderson, The Common Application, Inc.
Maureen Brown, executive director, Challenge
Jon Erickson, senior vice president, ACT, Inc.
Carrie Evans, co- founder, Educators for Fair
Katharine Gin, co- founder, Educators for Fair
Scott Gomer, ACT, Inc.
Rob Killion, executive director, The Common
Jim Montoya, The College Board
Erica Pierson, Naviance, Inc.
Martha Pitts, The College Board
Rose Rennekamp, ACT, Inc.
Jay Rosner, executive director, The Princeton
Bob Schaeffer, Fair Test
Linda Gray Sexton, author
Joyce Smith, National Association for College
Kathleen Fineout Steinberg, The College Board
Ellen Sussman, author and writing teacher
Kris Zavoli, The College Board
Michael Riera, author of Uncommon Sense
for Parents of Teenagers, head of school,
Brentwood School, Los Angeles, CA
Michael Thompson, Ph.D., author of The
Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and
Amy Abrams, Sarah Lawrence College
Charlene Aguilar, Lakeside School
Seth Allen, Grinnell College
Vincent Amoroso, Johns Hopkins University
Chloe Atchue- Mamlet, student
Natalie Bitton, Lycée Français La Pérouse
Daniel Cherry, student
Melanie Choukrane, The Brearley School
James Conroy, New Trier High School
Claire Costantino, student
Jennifer Delahunty, Kenyon College
George Dowdall, St. Joseph’s University
Jeff Haviland, Strath Haven High School
Roark Luskin, student
Fern Mandelbaum, parent
Ayesha Rasheed, student
Sarah Ringer, parent
Rod Skinner, Milton Academy
Irena Smith, writing teacher and counselor
MaryJo Yannacone, Strath Haven High School
Katherine M. Miller
AND LAST BUT NEVER LEAST
Our agent, Jennifer Joel of ICM, an incredible guide from start to finish
Our editor, Heather Lazare of the Crown
Publishing Group, the best counsel step by
The following list of books and websites are resources we believe will be helpful to you in applying to college. Some of these resources are data- driven, such as the College Board’s
College Handbook. Others are anecdotal— for example, Unigo. Both have value. Use each appropriately.
OBJECTIVE REFERENCE GUIDES
College Handbook, The College Board
Four Year Colleges, Peterson’s
University and College Accountability
Network at www. ucan- network.org
National Association of Independent
Colleges and Universities at www.naicu.edu
College Results Online at www.collegeresults.org
SUBJECTIVE REFERENCE GUIDES
The Best 371 Colleges, Princeton Review
Big Book of Colleges, College Prowler
Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That
Will Change the Way You Think About
Colleges, Loren Pope
Colleges with a Conscience: 81 Great Schools
with Outstanding Community Involvement,
Fiske Guide to Colleges, Edward B. Fiske
Student’s Guide to Colleges, edited by Jordan
Goldman and Colleen Buyers
Visit our website at www.collegeadmissionbook.com for an updated list of resources.
Unigo at www.unigo.com
College Prowler at www.collegeprowler.com
SUBJECTIVE MATERIALS ABOUT
THE ADMISSION PROCESS
College Unranked: Ending the College
Admissions Frenzy, Lloyd Thacker
The Gatekeepers, Jacques Steinberg
Harvard Schmarvard, Jay Matthews
I’m Going to College— Not You! Jennifer
Less Stress, More Success: A New Approach to
Guiding Your Teen Through College, Marilee
Jones and Kenneth Ginsburg
The Choice, Jacques Steinberg at thechoice
Class Struggle, Jay Mathews at voices
.washingtonpost.com /class- struggle
The Education Conservancy at www.educationconservancy.org
GENERAL ADMISSION INFORMATION
College.gov at www.college.gov
College Board at www.collegeboard.org
KnowHow2Go at www.knowhow2go.org
National Association for College Admission
Counseling at www.nacacnet.org
The Common Application at www.commonapp.org
International Baccalaureate at www.ibo.org
Advanced Placement at www.collegeboard.org
College Fairs Online at www.collegeweeklive.com
Collegiate Choice Walking Tours Videos at www.collegiatechoice.com
Campus Tours at www.campustours.com
NACAC National College Fairs at www.nacacnet.org
College InSight at www. college- insight.org
College Navigator at www.nces.ed.gov/
National Survey of Student Engagement at www.nsse.iub.edu
ACT at www.ACT.org
SAT at www.Collegeboard.org
Fair Test at www.fairtest.org
TESTING INFORMATION FOR
International English Language Testing
System at www.ielts.org
TOEFL at www.ets.org/toefl
Pearson Test of English at www.pearsonpte.com
FREE PRACTICE TESTS AND
ACT Sample Test at www.actstudent.org/
Number2 at www.number2.com
SAT College Board Practice Test at sat.collegeboard.org/practice /sat
- practice- test
Spark Notes SAT Practice Test at testprep.sparknotes.com/testcenter/newsat
K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with
Learning Disabilities or ADHD, Marybeth
Kravets and Imy Wax
The College Sourcebook for Students with
Learning and Developmental Differences by
College Guide for Performing Arts Majors
2009: The Real- World Admission Guide for
Dance, Music, and Theater Majors, Carole
National Portfolio Day at www.portfolioday.net
NCAA at www.ncaa.org
Before You Go: The Ultimate Guide to
Planning Your Gap Year, Tom Griffi ths
Gap Year Guidebook 2010, Wendy Bosberry-
Americorps at www.americorps.gov
City Year at www.cityyear.org
CIEE Gap Year Programs at www.ciee.org/hsabroad/gap/index.html
gapyear.com at www.gapyear.com
Global Volunteers at www.globalvolunteers.org
Global Citizen Year at globalcitizenyear.org
Where There Be Dragons at www.wheretherebedragons.com
SELECTIVE SUMMER PROGRAMS
Telluride Association Summer Program
(TASP) at www.tellurideassociation.org
National Hispanic Institute at www. nhi- net.org
College Horizons Program for Native
Americans at www.collegehorizons.org
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MITES at web.mit.edu/mites
CITYterm at the Masters School in New
York at www.cityterm.org
The Mountain School of Milton Academy at www.mountainschool.org
United World Colleges at www.uwc.org
FINANCIAL AID RESOURCES
College Board at www.collegeboard.org
College Goal Sunday at www.collegegoalsundayusa.org
FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov
Fastweb at www.fastweb.com
FinAid at www.fi naid.org
Federal Student Aid at studentaid.ed.gov
CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE at profileonline.collegeboard.org
FINANCIAL AID FOR
The Association of International Educators
(NAFSA) at www.nafsa.org eduPASS: The Smart Student Guide to
Studying in the USA at www.eduPASS.org
FINANCIAL AID CALCULATORS
College Board at www.collegeboard.org
FinAid Calculators at www.fi naid.org/
Sallie Mae Affordability Analyzer at www.collegeanswer.com/paying
FAFSA4caster at studentaid.ed.gov
The College Board at www.collegeboard.org
College Scholarships.org at www
College Board Scholarship Search at apps.collegeboard.org/cbsearch_
FastWeb at www.fastweb.com
FinAid’s Major- Specifi c Resource at www.finaid.org/otheraid/majors.phtml
Meritaid at www.meritaid.com
Moolahspot at moolahspot.com
Peterson’s Award Database at www.fi naid.org/
Scholarships.com at www.scholarships.com
Scholarships4students.com at www.
The Web- based Naviance system features a scholarship search service powered by
Avoiding Deceptive Student Loan Offers at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/
Parent PLUS Loan at www.parentplusloan.com
Stafford Loan Website at www.staffordloan.com
MINORITY SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION
200 Free Scholarships for Minorities at www.blackexcel.org/200-Scholarships
100 Black Men of American, Inc. at www.100blackmen.org
American Indian College Fund at www.collegefund.org
Hispanic Scholarship Fund at www.hsf.net
LGBT Scholarship Resource at www.fi naid.org/otheraid/gay.phtml
College Access &Opportunity Guide, Center for Student Opportunity
Advancement Via Individual Determination
(AVID) at www.avid.org
Center for Student Opportunity (CSO)
College Center at www.csocollegecenter.org
College Goal Sunday at www.collegegoalsundayusa.org
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation at www.jkcf.org
National College Access Network at www.collegeaccess.org
SPANISH- LANGUAGE RESOURCES
Educación a tu Alcance (Guide to Financial
Aid in Spanish) at www.thesalliemaefund
NSSE Pocket Guide: Questions to Ask on Your College Visits (in English and
Spanish) at nsse.iub.edu/html/pocket
Spanish Language Resource Links
(Admissions and Financial Aid) at www.tgslc.org/spanish
Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) at www.E4FC.org
National Immigration Law Center at www.nilc.org
Mexican American Legal Defense and
Education Fund at www.maldef.org
Asian American Legal Defense and
Education Fund at www.aaldef.org
Consortium of Higher Education LGBT
Resources Center at www.lgbtcampus.org
Campus Climate Index at www.campusclimateindex.org