“Fifty Shades of Grey,” the blockbuster series that no one can seem to put down, has recently recorded sales approaching 20 million. While the books I’m recommending can’t compete at the cash register, they can be equally eye-opening, liberating and stress-reducing!
Here is part two of my suggested summer reading list:
• “Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents,” by Zac Bissonnette (Penguin, $10.88). Bissonnette is a young personal finance writer who masterminded his own debt-free higher education. He provides straight talk about financing college, including who and what to believe and perhaps more importantly, who and what not to trust so naively.
He’s not a believer in college rankings and isn’t convinced that families should just sign on the dotted lines for student and/or parent loans. His message is “RELAX! Your kid will be able to get a champagne education on a beer budget!”
• “A New Beginning: A Survival Guide for Parents of College Freshmen,” by Kaye Bernard McGarry, (Survival in College Press, $14.95). This is a sensitive and practical parent handbook. Chapters include communicating with your college student, coaching them on finances and time management and navigating the “letting go” moments at drop off and the first visit home.
• “Getting In! College Admissions and Financial Aid in the Digital Age,” by Steve Cohen, Anne Dwane, Paulo de Oliveira and Michael Muska (Wiley, $14.99). While college admission over the past decade or two has become increasingly competitive, it has also gone almost exclusively digital. “Getting In!” offers advice from college admission officers and high school guidance counselors. It is affiliated with zinch.com, the largest online social network connecting applicants with colleges by allowing students to create professional profiles, search for programs and get matched to schools and scholarships. Chapters include: “Behind the Scenes,” “Your Application Strategy,” “Paying for College,” plus a very valuable “Case Studies” appendix that details actual student records, examines the quality of their letters of recommendations and critiques their essays.
• “How to Make Colleges Want You… Insider Secrets for Tipping the Admissions Odds in Your Favor,” by Mike Moyer (Sourcebooks, $12.95). Moyer focuses on how to help students set themselves apart from thousands of other students who, on paper, look just like them. He is creative and supportive and the book provides some great ideas for NTAs – Non-Teenager-Activities. Moyer talks about “breaking the zone” and “striking the nerve” – concepts that focus on finding colleges that will value you for what makes you different.