Five Books to Read Before College

There is nothing more freeing than the last day of school each June, when months of laziness, long sunny days and lack of responsibility abound. Perhaps, sports, work and other commitments increasingly encroach upon the sacred institution of summer vacation, but nonetheless, the end of the school year evokes joy among students and educators alike. We’ve asked Erin Heakin, our Career Quest counselor to share her topic picks for students and parents preparing for college. Whether you are counting down the last days of school or have already started your summer break, we hope your summertime plans involve a good book.

College admission: “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania” by Frank Bruni

What matters, in the end, are a student’s efforts in and out of the classroom, not the gleam of his or her diploma. Where you go isn’t who you’ll be. Americans need to hear that and this indispensable manifesto says it with eloquence and respect for the real promise of higher education.

For Parents: “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity” by Andrew Solomon

All parenting turns on a crucial question: to what extent should parents accept their children for who they are, and to what extent they should help them become their best selves. Elegantly reported by a spectacularly original and compassionate thinker, Far from the Tree explores how people who love each other must struggle to accept each other—a theme in every family’s life.

For Parents: “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success” by Julie Lythcott-Haims

Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.

For Students: “The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College” by Harlan Cohen

This essential is filled with real-life advice on everything from managing money to managing stress. Hilarious and outrageous, with stories from students on over 100 college campuses this book covers the basics, and then some. This “hilarious and truthful book” (School Library Journal) offers entering freshman a genuine and insightful look at everyday life.

For Students and Parents: “There Is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow” by Jeffrey J. Selingo

Full of tips, advice, and insight, this wise, practical guide will help every student, no matter their major or degree, find real employment—and give their parents some peace of mind. There Is Life After College offers students, parents, and even recent graduates the practical advice and insight they need to jumpstart their careers. 

JFCS’ Career Quest programs for high school and college students and recent graduates can help students and families discover their potential. Visit our website or call Erin Heakin at 502-452-6341 ext. 246,

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