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How to Get Into the
Top Colleges


Master the ever-more-complicated college admissions process. Understand how best to help your children gain admission to the top colleges.


College admission has become immensely more complicated in recent years. The process has grown more stressful, with students feeling increased pressure to get into a prestigious college. Krista Klein and I wrote this book to provide an in-depth guide to the admissions process at America’s selective colleges to help readers sort through the complexity and thereby retain control of the process—as well as a measure of sanity.

What is included in this book:

We take readers step-by-step through the entire application process and provide insights from seventy admissions and financial aid directors. At over 600 pages, this is by far the most comprehensive—as well as analytical—guide available. The book covers such vital topics as how to:

  • Choose the right school for you—in the United States or abroad

  • Assess and upgrade your credentials to put your best foot forward

  • Develop the marketing strategy that maximizes your admission chances

  • Write winning essays that stand apart from the crowd—while retaining your own “voice”

  • Interview like a pro

  • Manage the Early Decision-Early Action game

  • Maximize your financial aid strategy


We discuss in depth more than a dozen special circumstances that are hardly mentioned in other guides, from home-schooled to learning disabled to “development” cases. We also explore three options for those who may not follow the usual college path: attending a service academy (such as West Point or Navy), attending college abroad (such as Oxford or the London School of Economics), or taking a gap year (a year off) before college.

What the experts are saying:

Undoubtedly the best book I have ever seen on college admissions, particularly regarding the top schools. If you choose only one guide to assist you, make it this one. This is absolutely must reading.”


—Eric Kaplan, Director of Admissions,
University of Pennsylvania


“I recommend this book very highly. It’s sophisticated, comprehensive, and makes college admissions understandable and accessible to the reader. With in-depth advice on every aspect of the admissions process from the college admissions directors themselves, this book is must-reading for those who want to understand fully their options and increase their chances of admissions.”


—James S. Miller, Dean of Admissions,
Brown University

“I enjoyed the book and am proud to recommend it. How to Get Into the Top Colleges is a step-by-step, comprehensive guide to researching and applying to the selective colleges. It’s the only guidebook a selective college applicant needs to read.”


—Katie Fretwell, Director of Admissions/Senior Associate Dean,
Amherst College

“How to Get Into the Top Colleges shows for the first time how admissions decisions are made at each of the top colleges. I was surprised to see how much the decision-making varies from one school to the next. This book is truly unique—nothing else comes close to it…. I highly recommend it.”


—Jack Blackburn, Dean of Admissions,
University of Virginia

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