So Many Choices (part VIII): My Six Favorite Books for Navigating the College Journey

This week, we complete our “So Many Choices” series. By now, you likely agree that the college decision is the single most impactful choice most families will ever make financially. There’s a lot to figure out, like finding the right fit and how to pay for it.

At, we know it’s a big deal, so we’ve picked 6 super-helpful books for parents like you who are getting ready to guide your kids through these choices. These books give you really important info, practical tips, and expert advice to help you make smart choices for your child’s education.

1. “Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions” by Jeffrey Selingo
This book by Jeffrey Selingo is like a sneak peek behind the scenes of how colleges pick students. He looks at one year of admissions and tells you about all the things that colleges take into consideration when they decide who gets in. The first half of the book tells you what is going on behind the scenes and the second half tells you just how to navigate the world of admissions to give your student the best chance for success. 

2. “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania” by Frank Bruni
Frank Bruni wrote this book to tell you that going to a prestigious college isn’t the only way to succeed. He gives examples and facts to show that success can come from lots of different places. What I love about this book is that it emphasizes what many studies have found- that the level of a student’s involvement when they get to college is far more important that other factors like college size, prestige, public vs. private, and selective vs. non-selective schools. 

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
Ron Lieber dives into the world of financing a college degree. He helps families make good choices about how to pay for college. He talks about scholarships, loans, and more ways to make college affordable without breaking the bank.

4. “College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You” by Dr. Steven R. Antonoff
This book by Dr. Steven R. Antonoff helps you find the perfect college fit. It’s like a guide with questions to help parents and students figure out what kind of college is the best match. Everyone’s different, so this book helps you pick a college that suits your academic, financial, geographic and extracurricular needs the best.

5. “The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2024: Billions of Dollars in Scholarships, Grants and Prizes (16th edition)” by Gen and Kelly Tanabe
Gen and Kelly Tanabe share tons of secrets about scholarships and free money for college. They list thousand of opportunities for students from all backgrounds. They also give some great advice on how to apply and increase your chances of getting those scholarships.

With college admissions changing all the time and the cost always increasing, having the right info is really important. These books give you different viewpoints and tools to make good choices. They’ll help you support your student as they embark on their college journey. At Complete College Advising, we believe that knowing the facts is key to making college easier, and these books are a great start for any parent.

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