- Series: How to Get Into the Top Colleges
- Paperback: 640 pages
- Publisher: Prentice Hall Press; 3 edition (August 4, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 073520442X
- ISBN-13: 978-0735204423
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,416,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How to Get Into the Top Colleges, 3rd ed 3rd Edition
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-James S. Miller, Dean of Admissions, Brown University
About the Author
Richard Montauk is the founder and president of Degree of Difference, which helps thousands of applicants get into the world's top colleges. In addition to having been a corporate lawyer and corporate strategy consultant, he is author of several bestselling admissions guides.
Krista Klein, currently on the staff of Degree of Difference, is co-director of counseling for Lick-Wilmerding High School and was formerly director of College Counseling at Stuart Hall High School, both in San Francisco. She received a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.A. in East Asian Studies from Harvard University.
Top customer reviews
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The book is focused on 200 highly selective colleges that want only students whose grades and test scores put them in the top 10% of high school graduates. The advice is most useful for 8th and 9th grade students who need to select a high school program that will yield six, eight or ten AP classes, including calculus, chemistry, physics, and biology, and four years of a foreign language. For some 8th graders, such a program will require finding a different high school.
Montauk gives more attention to Early Decision Admissions than other "experts". He correctly points out that binding Early Decision or non-binding single choice Early Action can double or triple the odds of being admitted to some colleges while providing zero benefit at some other colleges.
So, Montauk's book can not replace the need to research each college carefully. This year, applying Early Decision doubled the odds of admission to Cornell, tripled the odds of acceptance at Duke and had ZERO advantage for applicants to Stanford.
Parents and students would benefit more from Loren Pope's books "Beyond The Ivy League" and "Colleges That Change Lives". Pope shows that success in college is based on finding a good fit for a student's goals, interests and abilities. There are hundreds of good colleges that can provide a great education and open the door for successful careers.
Montauk focuses on how to be admitted to an elite college. He fails to recognize the reality that 90% of high school graduates will attend non-elite colleges and that it is a more productive process to find the RIGHT college than fight for a spot in the most elite college.
I read a lot about college admissions and I thought the author was right on probably 99% of the time. The author has spent years consulting with students on admission to top schools, so where we differed could be because I'm wrong.
Toward the very end there are some more specific sections that can be skipped if desired by the typical applicant. One trick mentioned was to apply to British law school because those programs are done at the undergraduate level and the degree is accepted in the U.S. with very little additional coursework. The typical graduate would then take the bar exam at 22. The cost savings is probably upwards of $300,000. Since I can't afford to pay for seven years of U.S.college, I found this tip especially useful. Each reader will likely find enough good tips in the book to make purchasing and reading this book worthwhile.
This book was easy to get through and it wasn't boring.
To be fair, this book does have a lot to offer, and the breadth of topics it covers is exhaustive. There are informative quotes from admissions officials at various colleges, although their definition of a top college focuses on exclusivity rather than educational opportunity. They have a large number of well-written essays that could give students ideas on how to compose effective essays of their own. Some of their advice on how to approach a teacher for a recommendation is very wise. (For example, make sure you give the teacher the opportunity to say no if she doesn't think she can write a "strong letter.")
Still, I do not recommend this book because of the atmosphere it creates. My favorite is the Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College. It's the most readable and concise. (How to Get into the Top Colleges is very thick and probably too overwhelming for busy students. It's really geared for the parent consumed with the prestige schools.). Fiske also creates a calming atmosphere. While not as clear as Fiske, I think families that insist on focusing only on the elite colleges would do pretty well with Admissions Matters by Sally Springer. It prepares students for the application process without scaring them and goes into more detail on application strategies for the toughest schools than Fiske.
Honestly, How to Get into the Top Colleges would probably help the kind of student with stellar GPA's and incredible test scores who will only look at schools like Swarthmore and Stanford. But if you find that the things in the book are making you hyperventilate, stop reading it and buy a different title.