Gap Years

American Gap Association
The American Gap Association is the top national organization dedicated to gap years: setting program standards, offering accreditation, conducting/publishing research.

USA Gap Year Fairs
Group devoted to fostering productive events and relationships among reputable gap year organizations, students/parents, counselors, educational experts.

Why Your High School Senior Should Take a Gap Year
Short article in Time exploring the advantages of a gap year: time to see the world, stay home and work, grow and gain maturity, or bolster the academic resume.

How Common is a Gap Year?
Adrienne Green of The Atlantic dissects Malia Obama's decision to take a gap year before attending Harvard. Excellent general article on the gap year option. A quick read.

Where There Be Dragons
A pioneer in cross-cultural education, Dragons offers transformative immersion experiences and study abroad programs for teens and young adults. Great option for gap years.

College Research

College Confidential
Best college research portal, by far. Bursting with important, useful info on every aspect of college admissions and campus life. College Forums are the best part.

In-depth stats on colleges searchable by topic, location, institution, type of school. Create a spreadsheet to compare your top schools and critical data on each one.

This site recommends schools based on user profile information. Read student reviews, calculate admission chances, estimate aid, compare schools, plan visits, and more.

Princeton Review: Best Colleges
PR collects data from annual questionnaires submitted by students at every major college in America. Your future college is in this book. Get the latest edition.

Fisk Guide
A best-selling college research guide. Former NY Times Education Editor Edward Fiske gives his take on 300+ favorite schools in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.

Common Data Set
After listing schools to consider, it's time to gather and compare key information in each school's Common Data Set file. Search for: "Common Data Set [SchoolName]."

College Ranking Conundrum
For good or ill, college rankings are here to stay and will likely continue to form an important feature of the college admissions landscape for the foreseeable future.

The Rite of College Visitation
Given the importance of the decision, it's imperative that students/parents personally visit and carefully qualify prospective schools before accepting any offer of admission.

Application and Admission

Hire a Good College Admissions Consultant
Some of the cost of higher education should be spent 7th-11th grade in high school on expert help navigating the Byzantine college admissions process.

How to Make Colleges Want You
Cracks the college admissions code. Features info on NTAs ("non-teenage activities") to impress AdComs and make motivated students stand out. A great first read.

Admission Matters
Get up to speed on the basics of the college admissions process (courses, grades, EC’s, college choice, Common App, test prep, essays, letters, financial aid, and more).

Getting Into College
500+ pages of great advice and tips from top advisors, admissions reps, and students from great colleges all over the country. A page turner.

On Writing the College Application Essay
Classic college essay handbook. Former Ivy League admissions officer lays it all out: the good, the bad, the ugly, the truly beautiful. Indispensable.

Financial Aid and College Costs

First stop online for scholarship-shoppers. Leading pay-for-college portal helping connect students with scholarships and financial aid resources of all kinds.

College Confidential: Financial Aid and Scholarships Forum
Up-to-the-minute info, tips, and tricks from the best students and most tenacious parents in the country on how to find money to pay for college.

Three Year Degrees
To save money on higher education – complete your degree sooner! While not the best option for everyone, less expensive three-year "quickie degrees" are catching on.

How to Save Thousands on Textbooks
College students can spend $2000 per year on textbooks. Buying good used copies on amazon can easily cut that expense in half. With older editions, students save even more.

Top Lower-Income Students Should Aim High
Elite schools typically offer free tuition and an admissions bump for high-achieving low-income students. The Ivies can easily cost these students far less than a state degree!

The Junior College Transfer Option
Why pay full-fare for four years? Transferring to the in-state flagship school after living at home and taking JC courses produces the same result for half the cost.


Highly competitive program open to high school sophomores offers full-ride scholarships at top American schools to stellar students from low-income families.

College Board BigFuture
Success in college begins with good planning. Sections: College Basics, College Search, Explore Career Possibilities, Pay for College, Apply to College, Make a Plan, Start early!

Getting In
Gladwell's New Yorker article deep-diving into the sordid past and present of the American college admissions process and its history of discrimination and elitism.

The Absurdity of College Admissions
First in an excellent three-part series in The Atlantic about the byzantine and tortuous process of admission to top American colleges. See also: Part 2, Part 3.