B+ Grades, A+ College Application – A Book Review

Published by Wendy Nelson on

coverDon’t let the title of the latest book by Joie Jager-Hyman, EdD, fool you.  B+ Grades, A+ College Application is a book that can help anyone entering the college application process.  Although she bills it for “average students” and those with “sub-4.0 GPAs,” I think the only student who will not find any useful tips for applying to colleges will be the child protege whose record carries so much weight on its own that it won’t matter what is in his/her college applications.  The top schools will all be clamoring to offer admittance.  Are there really any students like that out there?

With the current ultra-low admittance rates at the country’s top ranked colleges, and the high price of college admissions across the board, I think all students can use “a leg up” in the admissions process when competing against their peers.  In fact, two of the things I like best about Dr. Jager-Hyman’s philosophy are her assertions that 1) You don’t have to be a perfect student to get into a good college, and 2) There will be a right school for you, and it doesn’t have to match someone else’s opinion of the “best” school.  She identifies six different types of college searchers, including The Brand-Name Shopper, The Atmospherist, and The Chill Pill, and talks about the different ways they can go about the college search process.

Some of the most helpful parts of the book relate to how to make the most of each piece of the college application, like getting excellent counselor and teacher recommendation letters.  Dr. Jager-Hyman stresses that these letters should not rehash information that the admissions officer will read in other parts of the application like the activities section.  As she says in the book, “The purpose of the teacher recommendation is to understand more about the applicant in an academic context.  A great letter describes the student in the classroom …”  She also provides ten steps to a successful campus interview and includes practice interview questions.  She devotes a whole chapter to writing your college essay, providing both tips and essay examples.

There are sections of the book devoted to students with special circumstances like athletes, legacies, talented students, and students with learning disabilities.  For athletes looking to be recruited, she provides ten steps for making a great impression.  For students with learning disabilities there is a whole chapter full of tips on standardized testing accommodations, communicating with admissions officers about your disability, and more.

Dr. Jager-Hyman also provides a very helpful and extremely detailed college admissions timeline for both junior and senior years of high school.

Overall, this book is the most comprehensive guide to college applications that I have found.  It gets right into what you need to know as a college-bound student, or parent helping your student.  I highly recommend B+ Grades, A+ College Application to everyone looking to put together a great college application.  Whether a student with perfect grades or a solid B student, you will find practical tips you can put to use as you search for and apply to colleges.

1 Comment

Alice Friedman · August 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm

My 18 year old son Kenneth Friedman developed a “College Application Organizer” now available in the Apple App Store (for under $4) after going through the application process himself and seeing what an organizational nightmare the process can become. Students can track all aspects of the application process from the start to the acceptances and the information is always at the fingertips. No more forgetting when interviews are. And the student is ready with accurate answers when parents ask questions like “How many schools have you competed essays for?”. Kenneth’s new app is an example of how students who find challenges can often develop solutions to address them. Kenneth priced the app so that all students can easily afford it but as a result, there is no budget for advertising. We hope you will help spread the word about his low priced app which can be found by googling his name and the name of the app. If you go on the page, you can download one of his other fun apps (Is it Tuesday?) for free.

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