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College Admissions Trade Secrets: A Top Private College Counselor Reveals the Secrets, Lies, and Tricks of the College Admissions Process Paperback – October 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0595198979 ISBN-10: 059519897X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059519897X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595198979
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Andrew Allen has helped over 10,000 students deal with the SAT and college admissions process. He was the lead researcher for the CASIS and is presently working on patents for cognitive testing and consults for schools and testing companies. Allen also works privately with students in New York and Boston.

Customer Reviews

Hey, I really had FUN reading this book.
Jay Rothstein
The information in this book is priceless; Allen comes across as a real insider revealing the secrets of the admissions process.
Jan Harmon
If you are a freshman in High School or younger with big ambitions, this book is for YOU.
Joshua A. Wallis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Rheumor on January 4, 2003
Verified Purchase
We're happy to say we've gone 2 for 2 at one of the author's least favorite Ivy League schools and though that certainly doesn't qualify us to write a book on the subject, we do feel more comfortable knowing which books we've read were helpful and which weren't. This book offers no real secrets and in no small part, it's not fully accurate. The author "borrows" liberally from elsewhere*, and much of what is original is flawed. He has a strong dislike of Harvard and Princeton and this is overly obvious all too often. Also, suggestions such as not applying to colleges that "stoop" to asking you whether you had help in preparing your essay (such as Duke) are self-serving; in this instance, the author knows the colleges are checking not to see if the work has been reviewed by parents, teachers or friends (which they assume it has been), but rather to see whether you have hired a "professional college counselor" to do your work for you (the author is one of these). We bought this book as we prepared our 2nd child's application on the off chance that some hidden pearl would be worth the price of admission; none was present. Instead, I suggest the original (*) "A is for Admission", written by someone who has actually been on the AdComm at an Ivy.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. Vann on June 13, 2002
The author has some good information, and answers questions that most college-bound students and their parents don't even know to ask. Unfortunately, it is quite obvious that the author lives and works in one area of the country and has little real knowledge of the rest of the world. I found the fact that he repeatedly belittles the qualifications of high school counselors (he once was one) and college admissions officers, yet never reveals his own qualifications, to be highly questionable. Did he go to a selective or competitive school? The editing is atrocious, his efforts to impress with extensive vocabulary often seem pretentious, and his attempts at humor fell flat or bordered on offensive. The author repeatedly states that a student should seek to stay on the good side of the high school counselor, then tells them to do things that will quickly alienate any overworked and underpaid counselor. I read extensively in an attempt to know what my students are reading and what kind of advice they are getting from other sources. I try to steer students and parents to additional resources with good information - but I cannot honestly say that I could recommend this book to any person or group without serious reservations. I could only read a few pages at a time before I was distracted by poor editing, disturbed by gross inaccuracy - MIT does not have Early Decision, PSAT is not scored to give a result of 1150, etc. - or just plain fed up with all of it. I believe that this is a vanity press book that might have been accepted by a major publishing house, but only after extensive re-working by the author to remove some of these glaring problems. I hope that students or parents who read this book will have the sense and skills to pick out the contradictions and work around them. I will be able to use some of the information in this book, but I will have to do a great deal of value-added packaging first. It will not go on a shelf to be checked out by students.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 2003
I was accepted early to Princeton last year and this book significantly improved my application and my strategy. Every page was full of facts, details and good advice. In large part, I owe my admission to what I learned from Trade Secrets. I suggest reading this book as soon as possible--it covers everything from 9th grade to the senior year. I was a good student but no superstar; with the help of this book, I turned my good academic performance into a great application. I am positive that my application went from average to very competitive solely by following the advice in this book. Trade Secrets is required reading for anyone who wants a real insider account!
One important note: the other reviews seem to be for the first edition of this book. My friend (a year younger) just bought this book from Amazon and the current edition is a SECOND EDITION, which has none of the errors the first edition had. So all of the little mistakes that the other reviewers write about are gone. I highly recommend reading this book ASAP, and now that the little mistakes are gone, this book is better than ever.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 26, 2002
I have two children at Ivy League colleges and one in high school just starting the admissions process, and I've read many admissions books. Trade Secrets is the best of the bunch. While it has a few mistakes (mostly speeling errors), it's got a good combination of advice, lists, tips and honesty that makes it more useful than the others. Most college admissions books are very informative in 1 or 2 areas while totally neglecting other areas... Allen's book touches thoroughly on everything (which is probably why it's about twice as long as most of the other books--and more expensive). If you only want two books on the admissions process, I suggest this one and a college directory (I suggest Princeton Review's "Best Colleges" or Fiske's guide).
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By James Williams on May 30, 2002
Two observations have been consistently made about this book: (1) it has a few typos and (2) it has a few opinions. Both are true. If you can't handle typos and opinions, then don't buy this book. There are several other college admissions books that are perfectly proofread and vanilla. (Caveat: I don't think that there are many error-free college books. I recall a Princeton Review book from a few years ago that listed U. Hawaii as a black college. And most admissions books say that "SAT" stands for "Scholastic Aptitude Test" or "Scholastic Assessment Test" when in fact, it stands for neither one-Allen at least knows that.)
However, if you can take a few typos and opinions, then you'd be foolish to ignore this book. I haven't read every admissions book (only read three), but this book has tons of information that I didn't see anywhere else (even my college counselor didn't know a lot of this stuff). I bought and used this book last year, and I can say that you'd be doing yourself a huge disservice by not knowing the advice contained in Trade Secrets. The typos are annoying, but I wouldn't risk your college application because of them. (As for the opinions, I actually appreciated them--they kept the book entertaining and readable.)
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