Three College Admissions Guide Books You Should Consider Investing In


“The most technologically efficient machine that man has invented is the book.”

- Northrop Fyre

With the pressures to finish up your required courses, find scholarships, and deal with the excitement of being a senior in high school, applying to college can be a stressful process, but if you plan ahead of time and do your research, it makes things much easier. But what happens when the internet doesn’t give you much help? That’s where we take the books and find out our information the traditional way. I’ve compiled three books that can help you find the perfect college as well as help you through the college admissions process.


College Handbook 2017 (College Board College Handbook)

This a book that gives you a basic overview of every accredited college and community college in the US, this book can give you that. Every year, the College Board comes out with a new book with updated information. This book is split up into major section: the 4-year colleges and the 2-year colleges. Each section is listed by state and for every college/university they provide a student profile detailing how many students applied, how many were admitted, and how many actually enrolled to the school. The book also included the all the information such as tuition, room and board fees, and admissions requirements. It’s a giant book which is actually one of its cons. It’s not user friendly so it’s a layout that you might need to get used but if you are looking for a book with every single college, this one is for you.



2.The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2015: Students on Campus Tell You What You Really Want to Know, 41st Edition By Yale Daily News Staff ($17.01 on Amazon)

If you are looking for a book that contains the student’s perspective of your prospective college, this is your book. This book contains about 300 colleges and universities so I can’t say you could find your college in your book. However, they provide assessments of each school that they have listed. It does have a college finder section in the book that has some statistical information as ACT, SAT, and admission requirements. However, that’s not all. It has some information such as the highest minority attendance, highest female/male attendance, etc. This book prides itself on the student perspective on the school. If you want to get a feel for the student life on campus, this book is perfect. However, beware that the book contains some outdated information about tuition so pair this book with an updated book and you should be fine.


  1. You Got Into Where? How I Received Admission and Scholarships to the Nation’s Top Universities by Joi Wade. ($12.90 on Amazon)

Last but surely not the least, You Got Into Where? by Joi Wade is a guide that can help you in any part of your college application process. This book is the thing you need for if you want to learn about getting the good scores, on how to write essays, and completing those applications. Joi has gone through the struggle and has shared her experience to make the admissions process easier. This book includes a guide on creating a College Master List, how to ace the ACT, how to write essays, and how to get scholarships from top universities.  If you are a senior and looking for something that can give some advice as well as help you through this stressful process, grab this book off of Amazon or Barnes & Nobles and start reading.

I hope these tips will help you out these upcoming year. Leave a comment down below if you have any questions. And as always make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook.



How to Avoid Cliche College Admission Essay Topics


          The mandatory essay of the Common App and other college-specific streamlined applications are one of the few opportunities given to showcase the student’s individualized character separate from academic statistics and achievements.  While every part of the Common Application is to be taken seriously and concisely, the personal essay equally requires a mindful ease and authenticity. Students are constantly asking how to “stand out from other applicants.” The more appropriate and less overbearing question to pose to oneself is: How can I present my unique character in the most authentic way possible?  The goal in mind should be to pose a well-written personal narrative distinctive to you; originality can often be lost if you are extraneous in your efforts to differentiate yourself from others.


Most Commonly Used Essay Prompt

According to the Common App’s 2015-2016 selected essay topics, 47 percent of the 800,000+ applicant pool chose to write about their background, identity, interest, or talent.  It was the most frequently selected prompt of the time.  Out of the five essay prompts offered by the Common App, why was this prompt the most commonly used?  Perhaps the reasoning could lead to the prompt’s broadness in scope in comparison to the other essay topics.  If you are looking to highly distinguish yourself from other applicants, I would suggest to test the other given prompts.  However, if you strongly feel that your topic of interest does not best fit in the more narrowly-posed questions, do not feel pressured to constrict yourself to another topic just to be “different.”

Once you have reviewed the question(s) being asked of you, you may start to think of the content of your essay.  Here are some things to avoid, and to keep in mind.


Write About a Fact Already Stated Elsewhere in the Application

It is important to take note of which accomplishments, interests, etc. are already noted in other parts of your application.  Your essay should reflect a facet of yourself not already known to the admissions counselor.  For example, if you have participated in a varsity sport in your high school career, and have indicated as so in the “Activities” portion of the application, do not focus your essay around that point.  It has already been made obvious to the admissions counselor and would therefore make for a less interesting read.

Select A Crazy Format

I have seen unique formatting choices made by previously admitted students; however, the format of your essay should not be so pretentious that it distracts the application reviewer from the factual content of the piece.  Stick to a standard paragraph format, or review any unique formatting choices with a trusted English teacher.


Read Other Students’ Essays

Find inspiration and ideas from other essays that have been successfully admitted into prospective colleges and universities.  You can either read an essay from a close family member or friend, or do an online search.  A personal preference of mine is: Grade Saver: Admitted Application Essays

Write a List of Things Significant to You

A moment, accomplishment, or failure of any significance to you, whether big or small, can make a great essay.  Start with a brainstormed list of any instance of significance to yourself, big or small.  Then, narrow the list down to topics that you feel have the potential to be expanded into a greater essay.  From there, assign the smaller list of ideas to a prospective question, or questions.


Review Your Essay, and Review It Again

Your first draft should never be your final draft.  Once you feel that you have laid a foundation for your essay, leave it alone for a few days.  Revise your essay with a fresh insight.  Then, ask for secondary audiences to review your essay.

*TIP: Create a list of questions to ask of your reviewers once they have read your essay.  Questions such as: What was the mood of the essay?  In your opinion, does the essay most accurately reflect my everyday demeanor?  If your reader believes your essay not to be the most precise reflection of yourself, ask for an explanation and personally review the essay once again and make any further revisions.

Remember that colleges want to read about the interesting quirks and experiences that have shaped your persona.  Your voice is the most valuable tool that you possess, use it to your advantage. Get to writing.  Good luck!