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Book Review: ‘How to Prepare a Standout College Application’ by Alison Cooper Chisholm and Anna Ivey

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New book is big help for those applying for college.

A new book can help high school graduates complete college applications that stand out from all of the others. Alison Cooper Chisolm and Anna Ivey are the authors of How to Prepare a Standout College Application.

Anyone who has seen the recently released on DVD movie Admissions, with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, understands a good part of how the admissions into the top colleges process actually works. And, they will understand how students and their parents need all the help they can get.

This book could be the key to someone’s future. It is filled with tips and advice on filling out all aspects of the college admissions application. It starts by writing about the decision-making process and how to choose which colleges to apply and if you need to apply early.

The authors recommend making list of two or three colleges where you have a high likelihood of getting in, include several more where you have a good chance of being accepted and include up to four colleges with a low likelihood of getting in.

The authors include a master plan template complete with activities for a 12-month timeline. They offer realistic advice that students need to keep in mind when developing their application master plan.

First, each college has its own application. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to college applications. Second, applying takes a lot of time. Third, each college dictates the actual timeline for applying.

The authors include five planning tips:

1. If you are starting after June 1 in your senior year, you’ll have to compress your timeline on your plan.

2. Add or subtract from your list of colleges included in the master plan.
3. Add any activities related to standardized tests.
4. Add any activities related to financial aid and scholarships.
5. Add the deadlines and then tweak if needed.

The book is easy to read and easy to follow. The authors include clearly stated steps to getting college applications completed and then adds to it by providing tips and strategies for creating applications that will catch the eye of the admissions office.

The book has details about answering questions about yourself, your education, why you want into the college and how to answer disciplinary and criminal background questions. It provides information on completing a standout resume, completing your list of extra curricular actives and about the supplemental materials.

There are also sections that include tips for parents and there are samples of really good essays and other completed parts of the application. The book is well worth the purchase price and as stated earlier, could hold the key to your college future.

Both authors have had careers in college admission offices and have more than 20 years of collective experience. The two worked at the University of Chicago and Chisholm also worked in admissions at Southern Methodist University and Dartmouth College.

They have also worked one-on-one coaching college applicants. They state in the book that they were “inspired” by their success with the many applicants they have worked with to write this book.

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