Top Ten Books About College Admissions

College books on admission

Top Ten Books About College Admissions

Published April 27, 2021 | Last Updated July 24th, 2023 at 10:11 am

College books on admission

There are many college admissions books that families can turn to as they search for good, solid advice on the process.

These books can be comprehensive or touch upon specific aspects of the college admissions process and paying for college. They can also provide families with a glimpse into how colleges “think” and “work”: insight that can be most helpful on the road to college journey.

We did some research and compiled a list (in no particular order) of what many think are the Top Ten Books on Paying for College and College Admissions.

College Admissions Books

The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make by Ron Lieber

Best-selling author and New York Times “Your Money” columnist, Ron Lieber works hard to untangle and unravel the mess of “shopping” for college. With his care and clarity, he enlightens the reader. His chapter on “Merit Aid” is not to be missed.

Who Gets In and Why: A Year Inside College Admissions by Jeff Selingo

Jeff Selingo, an award-winning higher education journalist, has written a book that takes you behind the scenes of the college admissions departments at three schools and pulls back the curtain on how much families’ finances impact their admission decisions. This eye-opening book reads like a novel . . . but sadly, it’s all true! Parents seeking advice on how to find “perfect fit” schools can also learn from Jeff’s “Buyers and Sellers” section. 

The Truth About College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together by Rick Clark and Brennan Barnard

Rick Clark is the Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Georgia Tech and Brennan Barnard is the Director of College Counseling at The Derryfield School. Together they have written an easy-to-follow guide with tools that direct families on the path to college.

Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania by Frank Bruni

One of the most often recommended books by parents in our Facebook group. What New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has written here is a book for families who are feeling the heat and competitiveness that the road to college often brings. Knowledgeable and encouraging in tone this is a book that will dispel the myth that only those who attend “elite” colleges can succeed.

Choosing College: How to Make Better Learning Decisions Throughout Your Life by Michael B. Horn and Bob Moesta

This thought-provoking book goes deep into helping prospective students and their parents learn to sort out and better understand what you are looking for when it comes to making educational choices and how these choices can ultimately save you money.

Fiske Guide to Colleges 2024 by Edward B. Fiske

The Fiske Guide has been expertly rating and reporting on all things having to do with higher education for over 40 years, so it’s no surprise that it’s on our list. Letting this Guide be your guide is a smart move.

College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You by Dr. R. Antonoff

Dr. Antonoff is a matchmaker, in a very low-tech way. This updated workbook/guide will help students make sense of their college choices, empowering them to figure out which schools to apply to with confidence. 

Paying for College Books

Paying for College: Everything You Need to Maximize Financial Aid and Afford College by Kalman A. Chany

Kalman A. Chany is an expert in the field of college financing and is president of a firm that has helped thousands of families maximize their financial aid since 1984. This book is a great resource for those who have questions about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and scholarships.

The Money Club: A Teenage Guide to Financial Literacy by Jasmine Brown

Parents who are at a loss for how to get their teens (all children, actually) on the financial mindset track will find this book invaluable. Teens will find it an easy and even pleasurable read. That’s a win-win for everyone.

Debt-Free U by Zac Bissonnette

This book comes highly recommended by parents of graduating high school seniors who need some advice on how to stay out of debt. The author weaves his lessons around his own personal story using a literary device that will appeal to teens and young adults.

In addition to these books, we highly recommend joining Road2College’s Paying for College 101 Facebook group to find education and guidance.

In the group you’ll be able to interact with a VERY robust and thoughtful community of over 200,000 parents and professionals offering advice as they go through the process themselves or look back on it.


Use R2C Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.  

Other Articles You Might Like:

How to Apply to College: A Comprehensive Guide

The Great Eight: Start Your Journey with These College Search Websites

A Parent Shares Real-Life Tips on How to Get Into College




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