Essential College Counseling Books

There are so many titles out there with advice for teens and the adults that support them. Here are some of our favorites that cover not only the college search and application process, but also suggestions for how to think about this period in a high schooler’s overall development. 

Happy reading!

Wise Words for Students and Parents:

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni

Provides perspective on the idea that the name of the school is what matters, and focuses instead on the idea that many schools can be great launching pads for a successful and happy career. It’s the effort you put into your education that determines your ultimate success.

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How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims

Great read for helicopter parents that need some perspective on overparenting. The author is a former Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising at Stanford which lends credibility with parents.

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The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Frances Jensen & Amy Ellis Nutt

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College Search:

The Fiske Guide to Colleges

Covers 300+ schools in the US, Canada, and the UK with 2-3 page summaries of each

Highlights include:

  • Student quiz to help kids understand what they are looking for in a college

  • Lists of strong programs and popular majors at each college

  • “Overlap” listings to help students expand their options

  • Best Buy section which includes colleges that provide the best educational value

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Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges

Book that inspired a change in how people think about college. You will find hidden gems here!

Highlights include:

  • Profiles of student-centered colleges organized by geographic region

  • Statistics including post-graduate grants and fellowships, students going on to grad school, etc.

  • Chapter on how students with learning differences can find schools that fit their needs

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K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Differences, 15th Edition: 325+ Schools with Programs or Services for Students with ADHD, ASD, or Learning Differences

Comprehensive guide for helping students with learning differences find schools that will be a great fit.

Highlights include:

  • Lists of support services available at each college

  • Policies and procedures regarding course waivers and substitutions

  • Advice from learning specialists on making an effective transition to college

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College Application Process and More:

(Incoming shameless plug) College Admission Essentials: A Step-By-Step Guide to Showing Colleges Who You Are and What Matters to You by Ethan Sawyer (College Essay Guy)

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The Truth about College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together – by Brennan Barnard and Rick Clark

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The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students by Anthony Abraham Jack 

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Who Gets in and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions by Jeff Selingo

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The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make by Ron Lieber

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Have a resource not listed here that you can’t live without?  

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