Read these books before you start college to prepare to get the most from the experience!
Both fiction and nonfiction books are on this list, but each will help you earn admission to and survive in college, whether it be by promoting your education, helping you to develop life skills, or giving you something to talk about in college interviews!
To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
This is an American classic, and if you haven’t read it for a high school class, definitely read it for college. It’s an excellent book to use to study for the reading comprehension of the SAT, and once you’ve read it, you’ll understand so many more literary quips your college professors will make. It will also provide a little insight for your history courses.
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee – Dee Brown
This book is so useful for truly understanding historical relations between Native Americans and European settlers. It’s an accurate take that delves into the darker side often buried in history books, and the facts within will stick with you long after you close the cover.
Naked Economics: Undressing The Dismal Science – Charles Wheelan
Economics is not generally at the top of the “most loved subjects” list, but especially as you head to college, a core comprehension of economics and finance can help you, both in your economics course and in managing your own financial budget for what is likely the first time. This book is particularly good at explaining concepts clearly and thoroughly without putting you to sleep.
Getting Things Done – David Allen
College is a whirlwind of school assignments, social commitments, and other activities, and it can be hard to stay on top of everything while still having fun. David Allen’s book has excellent advice for managing your time and staying productive. Read it soon and start practicing his techniques in high school – with college applications on your mind, there are plenty of opportunities, and it might help to improve your grades!
The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
If you plan on a career in science or just taking an ethics class in college, this book is a must-read. The debate over whether or not using cells from Ms. Lacks was justified still rages today, and the insightful observations of external factors that are noted in this book will have you looking at the situation from all angles.
Bird By Bird: Some Instructions On Writing And Life – Anne Lamott
This book could be incredibly useful to you, not just in class essays and writing homework, but for college admissions essays and even the essay portion of the SAT. Lamott’s book discusses common issues people face while writing, how to overcome them, and how to find your own writing voice. By reading this before you write that admissions essay, you’re sure to have your own well-developed style that will impress admissions officers at every school you’re applying to!
Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
This book is popular in college English and Humanities courses, so reading it early gives you a head start. Additionally, this particular book is an excellent story to learn about literary interpretation, themes, and metaphors. As a favorite of bibliophiles, you can also use this as a point of conversation in admissions interviews – you are sure to empathize or sympathize with the main character at some point.
Macbeth – William Shakespeare
In high school, you likely are required to read Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet, but don’t miss out on Macbeth. The Scottish play is popular among drama kids, and it’s full of quotes well loved by college professors – having read and understood this play will help you with a number of Shakespearian references.
The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
This treatise about gaining and maintaining power is an excellent book to have in your arsenal for a number of subjects – history, literature, and even political science! This book has been a mainstay in the literary community for hundreds of years for good reason – read it now so that you can use it as a parallel in college course debates.
The Republic – Plato
The Republic will provide you with a basis for understanding your English, PoliSci, History, and Philosophy courses, and reading it early can even help you to clarify thoughts for admissions essays. It can be a hard read, but once you’ve put effort into forming your own interpretation of Plato’s thoughts, it can be life-changing.
The Freshman 50 – Carly Heitlinger
This book was written by a college student and covers everything she didn’t know but wishes she did about attending college. From academics to organization to mental health, a number of important topics are covered in her writing and you’ll finish with new insight at the next stage of your life.
Admission Matters – Sally Springer
This book is an excellent resource for applying to colleges and navigating the process, and it has advice and tasks for the whole family. While the student is certainly the center of the admissions process, it’s important for everyone to help as they can. It’s accurate and covers a number of nuances that may apply to your situation.