Increased competition and changes to the procedure due to Covid-19 might make the college applications process feel entirely overwhelming. You can add these books to your summer reading list to make the most of your college admissions journey in the post-pandemic era, whether you’re looking for financial advice, support for a special-needs student, advice on navigating shifting familial relationships with the onset of college, or simply entertainment. Click on the book titles to take you to the amazon page of those respective books, if you are interested in buying them.
1. Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal by Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz
Selected for Forbes Top 10 Higher Education Books Of 2020, this book describes the gripping true story behind the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, a cautionary tale of bad parenting, the system that allowed families to go so far from the path, and the mastermind behind it all.
When federal prosecutors unveiled Operation Varsity Blues, it shattered the myth of American meritocracy by exposing the crimes of exclusive universities and wealthy families across the country. In Unacceptable, experienced Wall Street Journal writers, Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz delve into how normally intelligent, caring parents were drawn into controversy by one man: college whisperer Rick Singer, who led them via the back door. The book shows how, over the course of decades, the charming Singer easily ensnared parents seeking top-notch educations for their children, and exploited a system that was stacked against them. Exploring the status preoccupation that enticed entitled parents in pursuit of an edge, Korn and Levitz reveal a plot involving more than fifty conspirators, ranging from wealthy CEOs to famous actresses, that resulted in incarceration, damaged careers, and canceled enrolments.
Unacceptable is an eye-opening portrayal of corruption in America’s most prestigious institutions, telling the narrative of helicopter parenting, coddled kids, and a guy who thought he couldn’t be discovered. Korn and Levitz uncover the ugliness of elite college admissions and the disastrous effects of buying success by chronicling Singer’s steady climb and abrupt fall.
For parents who are unhappy with the corruption and competition in elite college admissions, this book is a must-read. Korn and Levitz’s book takes a telling glimpse into the dark side of competitive college applications, especially in this 2020 admissions cycle, amidst the hurdles provided by getting into prestigious universities. We can only begin to change the system by openly addressing its flaws.
2. The Truth About College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together by Brennan Barnard and Rick Clark
The writers of this book, a high school counselor, and the Georgia Tech Director of Admissions give families the tools they need to talk about the process of college admissions, which they sorely need but rarely do since it’s so emotional. They quote Simon Sinek, who says: Begin with Why. What is your motivation for attending college? Why do you wish to learn about X? What motivates you to pursue a profession as Y? Why are you interested in attending college A, B, or C?
They stress that the process belongs to the student, not the parents, who must refrain from using phrases like “our first choice” or “we applied,” among other things. A comprehensive list of behaviors to maintain a good family relationship throughout the process can be found in this book. “We can keep college talk to one day a week. We may recognize that a college education does not define an individual.” To a point, this is correct, and that point is financial.
The interview questions are also useful, despite the fact that few universities nowadays conduct interviews. The book is at its best when it reveals information regarding college marketing ploys and discount rates that many parents are unaware of (despite how many times we tell them). You’re more likely to buy something on SALE! then at full price; this is why, rather than simply lowering the sticker price, the average college offers a 50% scholarship. Furthermore, a cheaper price is too often connected with lesser quality and who wants that?
This book is much better than the average guide to college admissions if you just apply the relevant information and ignore the irrelevant. This book provides a comprehensive, practical guide for families, with insights from both the high school and university sides of the experience.
3. The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make by Ron Lieber
The book’s main focus is on paying for college—if you didn’t figure it out from the title, the subtitle “An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make” is a dead giveaway. Given this, it’s predictable that the majority of the book’s space is devoted to the more expensive type of college—private four-year colleges and high-end public universities—with little attention paid to the two-year public sector’s less expensive possibilities. This is a crucial caveat: if you’re searching for a statistically representative summary, look elsewhere.
The book’s first couple of sections are devoted to explaining many of the key elements of the self-contained cosmos that is pricey American higher education. In many ways, this is an odd system, with “sticker prices” approaching $80,000 a year, but almost no one pays that thanks to a jumble of “financial aid” programmes. It’s quite perplexing to those who aren’t aware of the concept, which causes a slew of issues for both families considering college and schools attempting to recruit first-generation kids.
The book also goes through a bit of advice on choosing a college— what features really matter and are worth paying for, and which elements are just window dressing. As for the rest of the chapters, the bulk of this work is devoted to advise about finances.
With many kids attending college online, families are wondering more than ever if the cost of a college education is really worth it. In The Price, You Pay for College, Lieber guides families through this crucial financial decision by peeling back the curtain on the financial assistance system and grilling financial aid gatekeepers with difficult questions. The ultimate result is a book that assists families in determining what they value—a statistic that is even more significant than a college sticker tag.
Adulting is less about crossing things off a to-do list (job, house, family, etc.) and more about learning to live with uncertainty and finding the strength to keep going. That message has never been more important than in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic. Lythcott-Haims provides compassion and guidance for young people entering this new chapter, as well as thoughts drawn from interviews with adults who have successfully begun their adult lives, in her book Your Turn.
Your Turn is mostly about personal integrity, and Lythcott-Haims conveys this message effectively. She encourages young adults to live authentic lives and make their own decisions rather than constantly following their parents’ wishes. The fundamental question that is addressed is: Which will you be? – The type of person that understands who you are and goes for it regardless of what others think? Or the person who wakes up at forty or fifty years old and realizes that all of their decisions were made out of fear of disappointing others? If you want to live a life of meaning and fulfillment, the author advises you to trust your own voice. Growing up requires changing your connection with your parents—getting them to see you as an adult and treat you as such. You may disappoint them by following your own star at some point. That’s OK.
Lythcott-Haims is brutally honest about her own faults and failings, and she relates many of her own life experiences. Your Turn is a hybrid of her first book’s guidance genre and her second book’s memoir genre. She offers up many nuggets of wisdom from which would undoubtedly benefit twenty-somethings if they are patient enough to sit through this 500-page guide.
5. College Admission Essentials: A Step-by-Step Guide to Showing Colleges Who You Are and What Matters to You by Ethan Sawyer
What are the things that are important to you, and how does your life reflect that? The answers to these two questions, according to Sawyer (the College Essay Guy), should guide every aspect of a young person’s college admissions journey. Certain components of the admissions process have become perplexing for families as a result of the pandemic: Sawyer’s two queries serve to alleviate the confusion. College Admissions Essentials is an uplifting look at how students can show admissions officers their true selves and get accepted into their best-fit colleges.
You may believe that receiving an acceptance letter from an elite college or university is a frenzied sprint to the top in which only the best students survive and those who make it are simply the lucky ones. As it feels like the bar is climbing higher and everything is out of your control, your stress levels rise. But this isn’t the case! You have the power to take charge, and you may do so in a way that is both effective and empowering. The author says it all boils down to two questions, from explaining your extracurricular activities to interviewing with admissions officers: What matters most to you? And how does it manifest in your life?
Every aspect of the admissions process will be guided by the answers. Ethan Sawyer, along with dozens of other top admissions specialists, will explain to colleges and institutions how your principles and drive can impact you, your alma mater, and the globe. In this book, you’ll find advice and insight from a team of counselors, advisors, and admission deans, interactive exercises that help you quickly and easily create the best content for your application, and access to a massive database of online resources, including organizational tools and in-depth guides, among other things.
The impact of the pandemic on college admissions is still unknown. Regardless of what is going on in the world, parents and students may overcome their fear and approach the admissions process with a clear head. These books will assist you in doing so.