Getting into college is easy. In the United States, there's no problem finding some institute of higher learning that will admit you, in exchange for some amount of money. Getting into the right college, however, the college that is best suited to you, your academic abilities, your goals, and your personality--that's a little more of a challenge. It's a challenge well worth all the effort you can put into it, however, as college is one of the formative experiences of your life.
The college search is a kind of a game, with preestablished rules and institutional expectations. To find the right college requires knowledge about how the game works. Anyone can play, however, so long as he or she has access to the relevant information. And that's where Pat Ordovensky's College Planning for Dummies comes in. There's a chapter devoted to what exists out there in higher education, explaining the options of private, public, single-sex, and religion-affiliated schools, as well as tuition-free, two-year colleges, and colleges in other countries, and another chapter on what plans and decisions you can make, way before it's time to select a school, with suggestions for 4th graders, 10th graders, and, of course, the last-minute 11th graders. There are also chapters on campus visits, interviews, how many applications to send off, and how colleges look at you, followed by bottom-line chapters on paying for college, describing all your financial aid options in clear, understandable English.
It's organized so nicely that just checking out the table of contents goes a long way toward quelling the panic of an overwhelmed high school junior. It also allows you easily to reference the sections that apply, and to skip those that don't. Despite the title, this is one smart book, intended for people (students, parents, teachers, etc.) who are keen enough to know they could use some guidance through the college maze. --Stephanie Gold
College Planning For Dummies does a sly and cheerful good job of easing us through the process of preparing for, applying to, and paying for college. -- Ted O'Neill, Dean of Admissions, University of Chicago