The All-in-one College Guide

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Barron's Educational Series, 2004 - Study Aids - 224 pages
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Overwhelmed. That’s the most common word college-bound students and parents use to describe the process of choosing, getting into, and finding the money for college.

And all the fat college guidebooks and web sites merely add to the information overload. There are tomes on everything from how to write a college essay to how to land a scholarship.

But finally, you can find an antidote to “overwhelm:” The All-in-One College Guide. In just 240 accessible yet authoritative pages, this book tells even the most serious college-bound student and family everything they need to know to choose, get into, find the money for, and make the most of college.

And this is no mere distillation of conventional wisdom. The author, Dr. Marty Nemko, is one of the smartest college counselors in the business, and he fills the book with little-known smart ideas on how to make the process not only easier but more successful. A few examples:

  • If you’re trying to pick a college, Nemko advises you ask each admissions office for the results of the college’s most recent student satisfaction survey. If they send it to you, you’ve learned how hundreds of students feel about their college. If they don’t send it or say they don’t conduct student satisfaction surveys, you’ve learned something too.

  • It’s rarely worth the time and cost of an SAT preparation course. The evidence is clear that a bit of preparation with $30 software will result in a score increase that is essentially the same as that obtained with a $1000 course.

  • Instead of saving money in the child’s or parent’s name, gift the money to the grandparent. You’ll probably get more financial aid that way. This is a completely legal loophole.

  • Key to a good college education is finding the best professors. Here are some ways to do it: Get the list of teaching award winners from the Office of Academic Affairs. Ask a department secretary for a recommendation—they see all the student evaluations of professors. Sign up for one more class than you intend to take. Go to the first session of each class and drop the class you like least.

    The All-in-One College Guide, despite its brevity, also has world-class sections on how to choose a major and a career.

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The Sagas of Mary and Sandy
From Initial List to Final Choice
Apply to the Colleges
Getting Into Killer Colleges Without
Finding the Money
Save for Retirement Before Saving for College
Consider Applying for the Other 5 Percent of Aid
Why Is College So Darned Expensive?
What Am I Going to Do for Fun?
College Planning Calendar
Choosing a Career and a Major
Sure You Want to Go Straight to College?

Buhbye Mom and Dad Now What?

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About the author (2004)

Dr. Marty Nemko has counseled hundreds of college-bound students and families, trained other college counselors, and writes a regular column for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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