Planning for college is an exciting - and stressful - time. The path to the college admissions process is mired with a lot of information and misinformation, so much so that at times it can get a wee bit overwhelming. There seem to be so many hurdles along the way, from standardized tests to early admissions to whether community service is essential to the admissions process.
With a sophomore in high school waiting in the wings, I join the swelling ranks of anxious parents who are struggling to make some sense of the whole college admissions game. This book seemed to come as a godsend to someone who has no clue whatsoever about whether good grades alone are the enough to get admission into a halfway-decent college.
Eva Ostrum is a renowned education consultant and a former admissions officer at Yale, and she brings her experiences to a book that seems like ‘Admissions 101.’ Drawing on her own experiences at Yale and advice from other admissions personnel at colleges across the country, she does her best to provide realistic action plans for applying to college.
In a bid to explain a seemingly mysterious process, Ostrum sets out strategies for the whole admissions process in language that is easily understood. The chapters are well set out, and she summarizes the most important points in each chapter so you can see what it contains at a glance. The chapters lead you through the whole process, from deciding which standardized tests to take and how to write a college essay to how to decide where to apply and how to prepare for that all-important interview.
Having said that, and having found the book useful in at least understanding the nuances of the process, I must enter a caveat: this is not the guide for parents who are sending their child off to college for the first time. Ostrum seems to have a hangover from her Yale days, and her guide is aimed at parents she must have met during the time – parents who already know how the process works and want some updates. Ostrum takes your financial resources for granted, and her advice is not very helpful if they are lacking, though she does list a few resources that will give you a fair idea of how to look online for financial aid and scholarships. The book is more of a guide on how to be admitted to a ‘select’ school - it is not aimed at parents whose children may go to state college.