Posted by: montclairlibrary | September 13, 2015

College prep

Taking a standardized test - photo by Alberto G. via Flickr

The school year just started, but if you have a high school junior or senior you probably have college applications on the brain.

With the deadline for most college applications looming November 1, now is a great time to look at some of the resources OPL offers to help college-bound kids and their parents, from books of practical advice to novels to distract you to online resources to help with tests, financial aid and more.

Online resources
First off, the teen librarians have put together some great resource guides on the Teen section of the OPL website, consolidating links to information and tools for Test Preparation, Planning for College and Aid & Scholarships.

OPL also provides free access for library card holders to online research and learning resources like LearningExpress Library (access various online practice tests, including the SAT), College Blue Book (a guide to thousands of 2- and 4-year schools in the U.S. and Canada) and Tuition Funding Sources (private website designed to help students find scholarships, college and career information).

Non-fiction books
If you’re looking for help writing a college essay or choosing a college, here are a handful of options – and there are more books on this topic in the 378 section at Montclair and other branches.

College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step by Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde (YA 378.1 MAMLET) – A step-by-step guide from a former dean of admission and a journalist/parent.

College Essays that Made a Difference by the staff of the Princeton Review (YA 378.161 COLLEGE 2012) – 114 real application essays that helped students get admitted. Insider advice from admissions officers at 19 top colleges.

Fiske Real College Essays that Work by Edward B. Fiske & Bruce G. Hammond (YA 378.161 FISKE 2011) – Provides tips on writing a college essay, including ones on such topics as science fiction, hobbies, community service and significant experiences.

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni (378.161 BRUNI) (not at Montclair) – Bruni explains why your future and your worth aren’t determined by which schools say yes and which say no — giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes.

The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College by Jacques Steinberg (378.161 STEINBERG) (not at Montclair) – “Steinberg…offers an inside look at the admissions process to one of the nation’s most prestigious colleges, Wesleyan University in Connecticut.” (BookList) Also available as an ebook.

Fiction books
I’ll bet you didn’t know that “SAT (Educational test) — Fiction” is a category in the library catalog. If you want to read about fictionalized college application craziness, check out one of these novels.

Acceptance by Susan Coll (FIC COLL) – “Coll sends up college admissions in an overstuffed social comedy. The novel tracks three juniors-going-on-seniors as they and their families run the gauntlet of SATs, admissions essays, campus tours and rejection letters.” (Publishers Weekly)

Early Decision by Lacy Crawford (FIC CRAWFORD) – Working one-on-one with Tiger-mothered, burned-out kids, Anne “the application whisperer” can make Harvard a reality. Early Decision follows five students over one autumn as Anne helps them craft their college essays, cram for the SATs and perfect the Common Application.

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz (FIC KORELITZ) – “Portia Nathan, the overly dedicated 38-year-old Princeton admissions officer…finds purpose in her gatekeeper role. But her career and conscience are challenged after she visits a down-at-the-heels New England town on a scouting trip and meets…a talented but rough-around-the-edges 17-year-old who maybe doesn’t measure up as Princeton material.” (Publishers Weekly) (Also made into a 2013 movie starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.)

The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore (FIC MOORE) (not at Montclair) – The seemingly perfect Hawthorne family of Northern California is tested by Ivy League ambitions, overscheduling, impossible expectations by the Bay Area elite and difficult personal secrets.

Jane Austen in Scarsdale, or, Love, Death, and the SATs by Paula Marantz Cohen (FIC COHEN) (not at Montclair) – This send-up of Austen’s Persuasion is “part witty satire on the college application process and part love story.” (Booklist)

Glamorous Disasters: A Novel by Eliot Schrefer (FIC SCHREFER) (not at Montclair) – “A high-priced SAT tutor sinks into the lives of a dysfunctional Fifth Avenue family in this debut novel.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks (YA FIC FREDERICK) (not at Montclair) – Four students, who have formed a study group to prepare for the SAT exam, sustain each other through the emotional highs and lows of their junior year in high school.

Find more suggestions, both fiction and non-fiction, in these articles: “College Admissions Books for Your Summer Reading Pleasure” and “Apps Lit

Photo: Alberto G. via Flickr / Creative Commons


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