College Planning Books

I just finished preparing a list of books for independent educational consultants and the families they serve for the Higher Education Consultants Association website.

These books would be great reference material for you, if you are a high school student or a parent of a high school student:

Dispelling College Myths

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

How College Admissions Works

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

College Selection

  • College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Right College by Steven R. Antonoff

College Financial Concerns

  • The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price by Lynn O’Shaughnessy
  • The Price You Pay For College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make by Ron Lieber

College Majors

  • Book of Majors by the College Board

General College Guides

  • Fiske Guide to Colleges by Edward B. Fiske
  • The Princeton Review The Best 3xx Colleges by Robert Franek (xx is a 2-digit number that changes with different editions of the book)
  • America’s Best Colleges for B Students, A College Guide for Students Without Straight A’s by Tamra B. Orr
  • Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope, Revised by Hilary Masell Oswald

Specialty College Guides

  • The K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Differences by Marybeth Kravets and Imy Wax
  • Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers by Elaina Loveland
  • BS/MD Programs – The Complete Guide by Todd A. Johnson

College Application Essays

  • College Essay: Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps by Alan Gelb
  • College Essay Essentials by Ethan Sawyer

Going to College Advice

  • The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College by Harlan Cohen

Rhodes College

In the late Fall, I attended a luncheon for independent college admissions consultants with Lauren Sefton, Associate Director of Admission from Rhodes College. Here is some of what Lauren shared with us:
Overview: Rhodes College is a liberal arts college of around 2000 undergraduate in Memphis, Tennessee.  The college draws students from around the country and the world with 76% from outside of Tennessee. There are students from 46 states, Washington, D.C., and 43 countries.
The college has a beautiful 100-acre campus with stone Gothic architecture buildings, thirteen of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Academics: Rhodes offers more than 50 majors and minors. Classes are small with an average class size of 14.
Rhodes has strength in the sciences. It has a new $34 million science facility. Biology and neuroscience undergraduates benefit from partnerships with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Neuroscience Institute at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Rhodes sends more students to medical school than any other liberal arts college.
Computer science and neuroscience are among the college’s fast-growing majors.Study abroad or off-campus is big, with 65% of students participating. 75% of students complete internships.
Extracurricular activities: There are over 100 clubs, organizations and intramural and club sports. Greek life is popular, with students rushing in the 2nd semester. Volunteerism is huge, with 80% of students volunteering. Rhodes has 21 Division III athletics teams, with a strong rivalry with Sewanee.
Applying: You can apply to Rhodes using the Common App with NO fee. There is no additional essay. Demonstrated interest is important.
Financial Aid: Merit aid ranging up to full tuition, is typically offered to the top third of the incoming class, without any separate application. There are four fellowships that require a special application process: Taylor Physics Fellowship, Fine Art Award, Jewish Community Fellowship, and Bonner Service Scholarship.
Students seeking need-based aid must complete the FAFSA and the CSS PROFILE.
International students are considered for both merit and need-based aid. Admissions is more competitive for international students looking for need-based aid.

Eckerd College

In January, I visited Eckerd College, a small, private college on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Eckerd has about 1800 students from 48 states and 40 countries on 188 acres and  eighty percent of the students are from outside of Florida.  The school is good match for a politically liberal, liberal arts, science or business student who is adventurous, likes the outdoors, would like to volunteer, and wants to study abroad.  Eckerd is one of the forty “Colleges That Change Lives”.  If you haven’t read the book by that title, I heartily recommend it. 
Academics – Eckerd is a liberal arts and sciences college, with business and management majors.  Its biggest major is environmental studies and it is well-known for its marine science major.  One third of the students are majoring in the natural sciences, Students can double-major or take a major and a minor.  Every student has an academic mentor.  In addition, Freshman also have an student mentor.
Freshmen take a 3-week term in August.  This helps them get acclimated to college before the rest of the students arrive.  During that term they take one class, have orientation, and participate in a host of activities.  
All students, except Freshmen, take a January term where they take one course on-campus,  study abroad, participate in an internship or independent study.
Above average students can get money to do research with professors starting as Freshmen.
About 500 students go abroad each year.  Students can study broad for a month, a summer, a semester or a year.  
Campus – The newest building is the $25 million James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences.  The campus has a beach and a waterfront with free sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and tents for student use. 
Boats on Waterfront
Waterfront Equipment
Housing – Housing is guaranteed all four years and there are no triples.  The school has special- interest housing which lets you bring your dog or cat to live with you.  There is even a fenced-in dog park on campus.
Extracurricular activities –

The school has Division II sports.  Sailing is very popular. Rugby is a popular club sport.
All students are required to do at least 40 hours of volunteer work. The school has emergency volunteers on the water in the form of a search and rescue group.  They respond to over 500 marine distress calls each year.
There are plenty of clubs at Eckerd.  One popular club is the Improv club.  If at least two students get an advisor, they can start a new club.  Lots of the extracurricular activities are held outdoors.
There is no Greek life at Eckerd. 
Getting In and Aid– Both need-based and merit aid are available.  The average GPA for admitted students is 3.3.  The middle 50% of the admitted pool earned between 1010 aand 1230 on the SAT; the school does not look at the SAT Writing score.

Do you think you would like attending Eckerd?  Why or why not?