15 Of Our Favorite College-Prep Books For High School Students

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We’ve curated a list of 15 college-prep books every success-minded (and probably nervous!) high school student should read. Looking for practical advice on navigating college admissions during Covid or writing college application essays? There’s a book for that! Interested in light-hearted advice on making new friends or what to even expect when you head off to school? We’ve pulled some of those books as well. Keep in mind that BIGWORDS can also help you find any of these books for less – we’re a price comparison engine that finds the cheapest copies of any books you’re looking for. So, if you need a few off this list, add them to your BIGWORDS bookbag and we’ll find the cheapest total price for ALL of your books, including shipping!




You’re off to college—it’s gonna be life-changing! Follow this book’s advice to make it amazing!

• What to pack, what to leave behind

• Which classes to pick

• How TAs can save your brain

• Why flip flops are a must

• How often to change your sheets

• Where to make new friends

• How to balance class and fun

• And more!!!

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Prepare for College: High School Checklist for 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th Grade Students

“Congratulations! You are a high school student! Are you prepared for college? The Prepare for College Series provides a checklist of important “things to do” during your freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school. Quick and easy to read! The Prepare for College Series is for parents and students who want to know what to do each year of high school to prepare for college.”–Publisher’s description.
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What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens: Discovering Yourself, Design Your Future and Plan for Your Dream Job

This updated career guide for teens draws on the principles of What Color Is Your Parachute? to help high school and college students zero in on their favorite skills and find their perfect major or career.

No idea what you want to be? No worries! This fun, rewarding guide draws on the time-tested principles of the career classic What Color Is Your Parachute? to help you discover your passions, skills, and potential college majors and dream jobs.

Why now? Because when you identify your interests and passions early, you can make informed decisions on what additional schooling (and tuition debt) makes sense for your chosen field.

With fresh updates on the specific challenges of today’s job-market, this new edition features activities and advice on information interviewing, social media, internships, and more. Most importantly, it’s packed with big-picture advice that will set you up to land the job that’s perfect for who you are—and who you want to be.

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13th Grade: Real World 101

Choice is your greatest power, but we only have a choice when we have knowledge to go along with it.

TL;DR (too long; didn’t read – an option within each chapter):
This book is for everyone who’s asked, “Why do I know the Pythagorean theorem and not how to do my taxes?” It’s not about telling you what to do, it’s about gaining the knowledge in order to make your own informed choices.
End of TL;DR.

The information in this book is based on both scientific research and the experience of relevant experts.

Rather than saying, “DON’T DO DRUGS”, this book says, “This is what drugs do to you, make your own choices”. A person should have knowledge of their possible actions and consequences of those actions – not a preacher.

The book covers a myriad of subjects (Money, Sex, Laws, more) and shows how to:

build wealth and make sense of the stock market and other investment opportunities, understand taxation, prepare yourself for the realities of the working world, assert your lawful rights as a US citizen, make a plan for a successful future, and much more.In addition, two other short books are included within:
1) The Way to Wealth by Benjamin Franklin
2) you, You, YOU are the Philosopher by Alvin Chester

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The Everything College Checklist Book: The Ultimate, All-In-One Handbook for Getting In – and Settling In – To College!

Maximize your college experience!

The path to higher education is filled with college visits, paperwork, letters of recommendation, essays, and application fees–and that’s just to get in! After that comes the financial aid paperwork, student loan notes, scholarship applications, and vouchers–and that’s just to pay for it! Then come the roommate compatibility survey, the lists of what to pack, what supplies are need for classes, and the lists go on and on.

The Everything College Checklist Book is here to help. These valuable checklists help you keep track of applications, references, transcripts, and financial aid. There are lists of questions to ask potential roommates, what to pack for dorm life, and ideas for the supplies needed for stress-free studying. It’s the ultimate guide for making a smooth transition into college life.

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Self-Esteem Tools For Teens: A Modern Guide to Conquer Your Inner Critic and Realize Your True Self Worth

Simple, effective strategies to build teen confidence and self-worth

Whether you are dealing with overwhelming emotions, peer pressure, bullying, or the struggle to fit in, adolescence can be a bumpy road. Self-Esteem Tools for Teens will help you come away with a better appreciation for who you are and a greater ability to recognize your potential.

Once you learn the basics of self esteem, dive into the personalized prompts to figure out how to build healthy, positive feelings. The book culminates with loads of tips, techniques, and insights rooted in stories about real-life teens who’ve successfully boosted their self esteem. Throughout you’ll use helpful journal exercises to guide you along the way.

Learn confidence and self esteem through:

A teen POV–Discover engaging, design-focused content that speaks to the heart and heartache of everyday life experienced by today’s teens.Story-based learning–Explore richly detailed narrative scenarios about teens successfully working through low self esteem issues. Silencing your inner critic–Help teens discover their self-worth with practical but engaging techniques and strategies.Find your inner strength and overcome the uncertainty of adolescence by building self esteem.

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This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on how to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work


Featured by Oprah’s Book Club on the Anti-Racist Books for Young Adults list curated by bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson

A USA TODAY Bestseller

Recommended by The Guardian, Time, Grazia, The Telegraph, Express, and The Sun

‘This is one for you, your neighbour, the children in your lives and especially that ‘only slightly’ racist colleague… A guide to the history of racism and a blueprint for change’ —The Guardian

Who are you? What is racism? Where does it come from? Why does it exist? What can you do to disrupt it? Learn about social identities, the history of racism and resistance against it, and how you can use your anti-racist lens and voice to move the world toward equity and liberation.

‘In a racist society, it’s not enough to be non-racist—we must be ANTI-RACIST.’ —Angela Davis

Gain a deeper understanding of your anti-racist self as you progress through 20 chapters that spark introspection, reveal the origins of racism that we are still experiencing and give you the courage and power to undo it. Each chapter builds on the previous one as you learn more about yourself and racial oppression. 20 activities get you thinking and help you grow with the knowledge. All you need is a pen and paper.

Author Tiffany Jewell, an anti-bias, anti-racist educator and activist, builds solidarity beginning with the language she chooses – using gender neutral words to honour everyone who reads the book. Illustrator Aurélia Durand brings the stories and characters to life with kaleidoscopic vibrancy.

After examining the concepts of social identity, race, ethnicity and racism, learn about some of the ways people of different races have been oppressed, from indigenous Americans and Australians being sent to boarding school to be ‘civilized’ to a generation of Caribbean immigrants once welcomed to the UK being threatened with deportation by strict immigration laws.

Find hope in stories of strength, love, joy and revolution that are part of our history, too, with such figures as the former slave Toussaint Louverture, who led a rebellion against white planters that eventually led to Haiti’s independence, and Yuri Kochiyama, who, after spending time in an internment camp for Japanese Americans during WWII, dedicated her life to supporting political prisoners and advocating reparations for those wrongfully interned.

Learn language and phrases to interrupt and disrupt racism. So, when you hear a microaggression or racial slur, you’ll know how to act next time.

This book is written for EVERYONE who lives in this racialised society—including the young person who doesn’t know how to speak up to the racist adults in their life, the kid who has lost themself at times trying to fit into the dominant culture, the children who have been harmed (physically and emotionally) because no one stood up for them or they couldn’t stand up for themselves and also for their families, teachers and administrators.

With this book, be empowered to actively defy racism and xenophobia to create a community (large and small) that truly honours everyone.

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How To Make Money In High School and College

The guaranteed method for avoiding student debt.Today, the average student loan stands at around $32,000, and research shows that it takes about 21 years for a college graduate to pay off their loan.

How can a young adult start off their career on the right foot when they already owe tens of thousands of dollars?

Then every month for the next 21 years, having to set aside hundreds of dollars for debt payment, while also having to pay for rent, food, and transportation?

This is a situation millions of Americans are facing today. Carrying this debt has hindered their ability to save for retirement, or to buy their own home.

If you don’t want to be part of this statistic, the best way would be to avoid student debt in the first place, or at least lessen the amount of debt you need to take on.

Aside from scholarships and grants, you can take an active role in ensuring that you won’t have to carry the burden of debt for a large part of your working life.

By finding ways to make money on the side while you’re still young, you can build up a fund to be used to pay for tuition, school expenses, or a big purchase, like a new laptop.

No need to ask for money from mom or dad.

In How to Make Money in High School and College, you will discover:

● How you can earn passive income while still attending school

● 30 diverse money-making ideas that you can start right away

● The unglamorous jobs that can actually make you hundreds of dollars in tips

● How to make $1,000 extra cash over a weekend with this fun scavenging racket

● The #1 thing you need to avoid getting screwed over by a client

● How to use your side hustle as a jump-off point to a lucrative career

● Why some jobs are worth taking on, even if the pay may seem not so enticing

And much more….

With the variety of options available for you to choose from, you don’t have to worry about not having the skills or time for a side hustle. There are plenty of jobs you can do in your spare time that don’t require you to be an expert coder.

And you also don’t have to limit yourself to just one side hustle.

The big advantage of being young is having loads of energy to spare. Why not channel that energy to something that will bring you financial rewards?

Whether college is still years away, or you’re already in college and in debt, earning some extra cash today will give you a head-start on preparing for your future.

If you want to start securing your future by earning serious money today, even while you’re still in school, then Click “Add To Cart” right now.

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Complete Guide To College Application Essays

THE COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY, MADE EASY. This user-friendly guide gives struggling students the step-by-step writing help they need to perfect the writing on their college applications, from the all-important personal essays to the supplemental material like short answer questions and resumes.Applying to college can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to crafting the perfect application. There’s a lot of pressure to submit something unique and cohesive–both for the all-important college essay and all of your other written supplements.

This book takes you from blank page to submitted application with step-by-step guidance on the most effective ways to complete this daunting process! We’ve packed these pages with practical exercises and annotated samples that model good and bad techniques, and included tips from real admissions officers.

This complete guide provides:

– A firsthand look into different review processes, plus editing guidelines to help you think like an essay reader
– Step-by-step methods for breaking down a prompt
– Brainstorming techniques to help you find the right story to share
– Tried-and-true advice to get you outlining and drafting your essay with confidence
– Annotated essays to demonstrate writing dos and don’ts
– Guidance on additional written content (like short answer questions and resumes) for a completely polished application

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The Secret Art Of Being A Grown-Up: Tips, Tricks, and Perks No One Thought to Tell You

Hello, grown-ups of all ages! Eclectic, bite-sized bursts of advice meet quirky illustrations in this playful guide to feeling like the grown-up we all wanted to be as a kid. From thoughts on the best way to open a champagne bottle to a short list of the kitchen tools you actually need, these tips and tricks reveal secrets that are attainable, not intimidating. Anyone can make a life upgrade using these insights alongside the traits they already have—their wits, creativity, and enthusiasm. This engaging guide is the perfect gift for recent grads, first-apartment dwellers, and anyone who’s ready to grow up, one step at a time.
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101 Lessons They Never Taught You in High School About Going to College

In 101 Lessons They Never Taught You In High School About Going To College, Mark Beal provides actionable insights to current high school students and recent graduates to help make their transition to a college a more informed and rewarding experience.
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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

The instant #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller

“A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life… I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love and City of Girls: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of.

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

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How To Win At College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students

The essential guide to getting ahead once you’ve gotten in–proven strategies for making the most of your college years, based on winning secrets from the country’s most successful students

“Highly recommended because it is full of practical tips that will help high school grads take the next step in life.”–Money

How can you graduate with honors, choose exciting activities, build a head-turning resume, gain access to the best post-college opportunities, and still have a life? Based on interviews with star students at universities nationwide, from Harvard to the University of Arizona, How to Win at College presents seventy-five simple rules that will rocket you to the top of your class. These often surprising strategies include:

* Don’t do all your reading
* Drop classes every term
* Become a club president
* Care about your grades, Ignore your GPA
* Never pull an all-nighter
* Take three days to write a paper
* Always be working on a “grand project”
* Do one thing better than anyone else you know

Proving you can be successful and still have time for fun, How to Win at College is the must-have guide for making the most of these four important years–and getting and edge on life after graduation.

“This deliberately provocative book is a good way for a smart student to see how out-of-the-box thinking can lead to success in college.”–Seattle Times

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College Admissions During COVID: How to Navigate the New Challenges in Admissions, Testing, Financial Aid, and More (College Admissions Guides)

The ONLY COLLEGE ADMISSIONS ADVICE GUIDE SPECIFICALLY FOR STUDENTS GRADUATING IN 2021 and 2022! College Admissions During COVID provides the latest info & recommendations for successfully navigating your application process during the global coronavirus pandemic.

· If my target school is test-optional, do I still need to take the SAT or ACT?
· What should I do if most of my extracurriculars were canceled due to lockdowns?
· Should I consider a gap year in the hopes that things will be more settled later?
· What should I expect if I have to take a standardized test (like the APs or ACT) from home?
· Is it even worth enrolling in college, if classes will all be remote?

Students in the entering classes of 2021 and 2022 face a college admissions landscape unlike any before. The massive changes wrought by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have upended once-standard admissions advice, with new questions—like those above—arising daily.

Fortunately, Rob Franek, editor-in-chief at The Princeton Review and nationally-recognized college admissions expert, is here to help you fill in those gaps with straightforward, balanced information.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS DURING COVID (a new edition of our popular College Admissions 101, specifically updated with advice for the current situation) gathers together the 70+ questions that Rob is hearing most frequently from students and parents, and answers them with information garnered from deans, admissions officers, and his own 25+ years of expertise.

Some things remain the same (yes, you should write an essay!), but others have changed (you may have to postpone that campus visit). No matter how crazy things seem, Rob and The Princeton Review are here to help guide you through this difficult time and set you up for college admission success!

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The College Bound Organizer: The Ultimate Guide to Successful College Applications (College Admission, College Guide, College Applications, and College Planning Book)

#1 Best Seller in College Guides ─ College Bound?The College Bound Organizer is your step-by-step comprehensive guide to organize every step of the college application process from college search through college admission.

College admissions is tougher than ever: Between now and 2020, about 90 million high schoolers in the U.S. will try to get into college. Each of these students will apply to many schools–5, 10, perhaps as many as 20–and each of those applications has a daunting number of T’s to cross and I’s to dot. With standardized test taking and school visits, the college application essay to write and forms to fill out, there is so much to do. Applying to college is intimidating and overwhelming for both teenagers and parents.

“Planning ahead and “getting there first” can do more than help students get into a good college–it can provide them with life skills, a solid education, and lifelong friends.” -Business Insider

If you intend to be college bound: The challenge is to be well informed, prepared, focused and organized throughout the multi-step college search and admission process. Your solution is The College Bound Organizer, the ultimate guide to help students effectively navigate this very complicated and stressful process.

“Using The College Bound Organizer is one way to help you stay focused on what is really important.”–Edward B. Fiske, bestselling author of Fiske Guide to Colleges

The College Bound Organizer helps students:

Understand what admission officers are looking for in an applicantPrevent common mistakes students make on their applicationsBuild a personal profilePlan an individualized testing scheduleResearch colleges to identify schools that are a good fitDevelop a balanced list of schoolsSecure letters of recommendationComplete and submit applications accurately and on timeDevelop the college application essayApply for financial aid and scholarshipsAce interviewsSort and manage application resultsMake a final decision

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