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How to Get Into the Top Colleges, 3rd ed 3rd Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0735204423
ISBN-10: 073520442X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I recommend this book very highly...must-reading for those who want to understand fully their options and increase their chances of admissions."
-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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • 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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,206,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is strongly recommended to those who have almost no idea of applying for colleges. It contains almost everything throughout the whole process you will encounter. NOTE: this book is designed mainly for general white american citizens or green card holders. If you are a minority or international student, there's not much information that is suitable for you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every college counselor should study this massive 600 page guide to college admissions. It is more detailed than most parents or students want or need. Montauk can take 50 pages to say "revise and proof your essay".

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.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book not knowing how incredibly useful it would be during the application process. I applied to 12 of the top schools and got admitted into 11, with Princeton being the only one that wait listed me. Without this book, I am pretty sure that the number would probably have been 7 or 8 admits instead of 11. Montauk explains, step by step, what to do to make your application stand out from the other 1400 SAT scorers. Buy this book and you will not regret the 20 or so dollars you are spending.
Richard R. Soto, Brown '06
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Format: Paperback
No, I`m not related to the authors. I don`t even know them. This is the first & only college admission advice book that I`ve read that expertly describes how admissions committees select candidates. I have been on medical & post graduate medical selection committees and can verify their information. The book contains comprehensive, yet still clear & concise information. Much of it I have not seen anywhere else. The section on "Marketing Yourself" is particularly informative, especially for college applicants. Quotes from numerous Directors & Deans of Admissions open the closed doors of admissions committees and illuminate their decision making process. There is even a section on "Taking Time Off Before College". Nothing like the real world to motivate you to get an education. Great resource, easy to read and well organized. Forget about all the magazine ratings, you can find them for free on the web. Buy this book, read it & follow their advice.
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Format: Paperback
While this book has a lot of good points, I think a better title would be You're Not Panicked Enough: The Admissions Guide For Families That Want More Stress. It should be noted that the book is written by paid professionals who help students get into elite colleges. Therefore, if families weren't worried about getting into those schools, the authors would make less money. The authors state things that have been proven false in books like Harvard Schmarvard such as you have greater chance to succeed and get higher salaries or have more opportunities if you attend an elite college. That's not true. Read Jay Matthews. Read Loren Pope. How to Get into the Top Colleges claims that rather foolish tricks like applying to a weaker division of a university in order to gain admission so you can transfer to the division you really want later are sometimes okay. They state, in all seriousness, that students should skip admissions interviews if they are anorexic or if they are "so contentious they will inevitably get into a verbal battle with the interviewer" or if they can't modify inappropriate behavior such as dressing like a neo-Nazi skinhead. Actually folks, parents of kids like those should probably be looking into therapy or nurturing care facilities instead of highly stressful college environments.

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.
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