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The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price (2nd Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Lynn O'Shaughnessy
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This bestseller has been completely updated to provide you with the answers that you need to find wonderful colleges and universities at more affordable prices. The second edition of The College Solution, which contains approximately 90% new material, is aimed at helping parents and teenagers become empowered consumers as they navigate through the college process. Billions of dollars are available to pay for college, but not everybody gets their share. It's not always the families with the brightest students or the parents who are struggling financially who receive the most money. The College Solution shares the secrets of how you can capture some of this money for your own family. The book provides advice on such topics as financial aid, merit scholarships, athletic scholarships, admission hooks, the important differences between colleges and universities, college rankings, the best student loans and the latest online tools to evaluate the generosity of schools. O’Shaughnessy presents an easy-to-use, proven road map for getting past the ratings, and finding the right schools at the right price. No other book offers this much practical guidance on choosing and paying for college now – and no other book will save you as much money!

Editorial Reviews


“The College Solution provides a roadmap for students and parents trying to figure out the complex path to college. At every step along the process, Lynn O’Shaughnessy provides the necessary information families need to know about admissions and financial aid in an easy-to-digest format. Students and parents are inundated with information about college these days and this is a great book to help you figure out what really matters.”

Jeffrey J. Selingo, vice president and editorial director, The Chronicle of Higher Education


“Chock-full of information about college entrance and affordability, O’Shaughnessy’s second edition of The College Solution is sure to raise your admission and financial aid ‘IQ.’”

Seth Allen, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Pomona College


“The College Solution is an easy-to-read conversational guide to paying for college. Lynn O’Shaughnessy is a champion for consumers and will help you pick the college that is the best fit for you and your wallet.”

Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and and the author of The Secrets to Winning a Scholarship


“Even though I’ve been labeled a ‘college admissions expert,’ this is a book that I wish I had read when my son was still in high school. Jam-packed with information about testing, college essays, interviews, financial aid, and much, much more, this highly readable guide will help parents and their children through an often confusing process.”

Robert Schaeffer, a founder of The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)

About the Author

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is a nationally recognized higher-ed author, journalist, and speaker. She writes frequently about college issues for CBS MoneyWatch and for her own popular college blog at


Lynn has written or been interviewed about college for such media outlets as Money Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Fox Business News, Huffington Post, Parade Magazine, CBS This Morning, USA Today, and US News & World Report. She is the consulting director of college planning, K-12, at the University of California, San Diego Extension. She also is a frequent speaker on how families can find and afford great schools. Lynn’s daughter is a recent college graduate and her son is a college sophomore. Lynn is a graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism.


Product Details

  • File Size: 591 KB
  • Print Length: 285 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0132944677
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: FT Press; 2 edition (April 23, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007VONQ90
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,663 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learned A Lot From This Little Book! May 5, 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I learned a lot from this compact, well organized book! The volume is divided in to six basic parts: "Shrinking the Cost of College", "Increasing Your Admissions Chances", "Knowing Your Academic Choices," "Evaluating the Academics", "Admission Nuts and Bolts" and "Borrowing for College".

In the "Shrinking the Cost of College" section I discovered that parents can have an unlimited amount in retirement accounts and a very expensive home and this does not detract from the child's chance at financial aid. The Expected Family Contribution form and its importance is well explained as is how to use net price calculators. Plenty of practical advice surrounding how to maximize financial aid and shrink college costs is included.

Much can be learned from the book's second section entitled "Increasing Your Admissions Chances". I was surprised to find how many well respected schools are now making admissions tests like the ACT and SAT optional. Also interesting was how important geographic location can be in getting admitted to college. I never knew before that showing interest often and early in particular can actually help a prospective student be admitted to their dream school. And the book does not shy away from discussing when gender or race can help or hurt at certain colleges and universities.

Part three "Knowing Your Academic Choices" explores the differences between colleges and universities and further breaks this topic down in to the four main types of institutions of higher learning. There is a chapter in this section called "The Ivy League Myth" which is very interesting. The author seems to have a bit of a bias toward liberal arts colleges which she explains thoroughly and convincingly.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is it. The practical, down to earth, realistic advice you need as a parent in order to help your child to choose a college or university (which, by the way, are not the same and the difference is explained in this book). The author helps you to figure out how to get the most for your education dollar. There are tons of books helping you to decide how to buy a house, or a car. College often costs even more. This is the book you need to help you get value for your money for your child's higher education and to choose a place your child will thrive.

The sections are titled:
1. Shrinking the cost of college
2. Increasing your admissions chances
3. Knowing your academic choices
4. Evaluating the academics
5. Admissions nuts and bolts
6. Borrowing for College

My son is a current high school sophomore. He attends a private high school, with excellent college counselors. In fact, he was required to take a class this year on college counseling. I did learn quite a bit from the material he brought home from that class, but still felt like I had many questions. This book answered many of them, among them:

Is an Ivy League education worth the price tag? (probably not from a lifetime earnings point of view)

What are the advantages/disadvantages of attending a research institution?

What are some factors that affect admissions and aid?

How can you maximize merit aid (especially if you are not eligible for financial aid) ?

The author shows a decided leaning toward liberal arts colleges and is up front about her position. She bases this opinion upon the fact that these colleges are more concerned with teaching undergraduates, leading to a focus on student learning rather than research.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have been doing research on Universities over the last few months, for my son who is a Junior in High School, and I wished that I had read this book sooner as it confirms pretty much everything that I have learnt about this convoluted, confusing and unfair process. And I could have saved myself a lot of time if I had read this book first. I seriously don't know how kids can figure out this process on their own without the help of involved parents, but this book at least gives them a fighting chance.

This book should be required reading for parents and students that will be going to College and it should be read in the Freshman year of High School.

As an example of something that most collegebound students should know, especially if they are advanced in certain areas. SAT Subject tests are required in one or more subjects if you plan to apply (and get into) a top-ranked private University. So, for example, if your child takes their AP Physics B class as a Sophomore, they should try to take the SAT Physics Subject test right after, when the material is fresh in your child's memory. But this won't happen if you are not aware of it and you're not going to hear about this from your overworked High School CAP Counselor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Must-Have Book December 30, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't emphasize enough the value of this book. Although I've spent quite a bit of time reading other books on the college selection and application process and pouring over web sites, this book presents ways to evaluate schools that are important and that none of those sources even thought to address. It contains lots of references to academic studies to back up its points, and lists web sites that are useful in finding important information that's not otherwise available. It addresses college selection, getting admitted, and financial aid. If I had to rely on a single source to aid us in the college selection and application process, this would be it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Advice on Picking Schools and on Doing Your Research to Focus...
The author gives a great overview of how to think about what colleges your child might be most attractive to, and what to research or consider in trying to identify schools that... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Claire Wadlington
4.0 out of 5 stars Great resource
Provides sound advice and many aspects not well known. Highly recommend to all parents and students looking forward to college.
Published 16 days ago by K.R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great information!
This book covered a lot of topics well! I have already recommended it to several of my friends who also have high school juniors. Read more
Published 26 days ago by K. Timmons
4.0 out of 5 stars I had NO idea
I had NO idea everything that needs to go into selecting a college and paying for it! This book is an eye opener.
Published 2 months ago by Jim Moody
5.0 out of 5 stars A real good look at College searching and how to pay for it.
A quick and easy read with great insight into the college planning process. I would recommend to parents and students as they begin the college discussions.
Published 3 months ago by linda
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book
Every parent with a college bound student should take a look at this book. Many of my friends have exclaimed about how absolutely helpful this has been, offering insights and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by christinew
5.0 out of 5 stars Great guide for our college searching!
This book served us well...and as a great and useful guide for us on our college searching. Everyone should read it.
Published 5 months ago by mikylooloo
5.0 out of 5 stars Grabs the Subject By The Scruff of the Neck and Makes It Behave:...
As a person who talks to other students about scholarships and financial aid and blogs on the subject, even I still have questions years after having worked in a Financial Aid... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jose Vazquez
5.0 out of 5 stars Every Parent Needs This
a good book with hands-on suggestions, websites and more for parents and students trying to navigate the overwhelming costs of attending colleges nowadays.
Published 5 months ago by Margaret Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book on college admissions and financial aspects
I wanted to get an in-depth perspective on college and higher ed landscape as parent of relatively young kids. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Munjal Dave
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