In the months immediately following publication of the third edition of Admission Matters, Sally Springer, lead author, was quite certain there would be no fourth edition. As Springer freely admits, “Updating a book like Admission Matters takes a great deal of time and effort and it essentially takes over your life for many months.”
Springer is right of course. But lucky for us, she and her co-authors, Jon Reider and Joyce Vining Morgan, had a change of heart and recently got back together to produce the fourth edition of Admission Matters—the single, most useful college guide currently on the market.
“Admission Matters is not just comprehensive, it’s a paper version of a great college counselor,” commented Maria Furtado, executive director of Colleges That Change Lives.
Jennifer Delahunty, former dean of admissions and financial aid at Kenyon College, agrees, “Filled with both common sense and sage advice, the fourth edition of Admission Matters is the only guide any high school student—and his or her parent—will ever need.”
Since publication of the last edition in 2013, there have been remarkable changes in financial aid, standardized testing and application platforms. Application numbers have exploded, pushing selectivity to the limits of comprehension at a number of elite colleges. And the skyrocketing costs associated with a college education continue to far outpace annual increases in the cost of living.
From the outside looking in, the entire process of selecting and applying to colleges appears totally out of control—characterized by neither predictability nor humanity. And instead of looking forward to their next chapter, high school students and their families have come to dread even starting the conversation.
But along comes Admission Matters with a reassuring message—“College admissions does not have to be, and should not be, an ordeal.”
To back this up, the Admission Matters team worked hard to update information and incorporate changes in an easy-to-understand narrative designed to give readers confidence in themselves and their ability to master the process and not have the process master them.
While the fourth edition of Admission Matters will look familiar to those who have read and relied on the third edition, there is a good deal of new material “sprinkled throughout” in addition to thorough updates—some even made at the page proof stage, when they were important enough.
As someone who annually reads and reviews a considerable number of college guidebooks, I’m very choosy about which ones I recommend. In fact, the list is very short.
Since I discovered Sally Springer and her book at a NACAC conference several years ago, Admission Matters has been and remains at the top of that list. This is because I want to recommend a guide that is up-to-date, accurate and offers the kind of advice I offer to families, in user-friendly terms.
Following its predecessors, the fourth edition of Admission Matters is thorough, crystal clear, and very direct about what college applicants need to do and how to do it.
The authors are seasoned professionals with more than 100 years of experience in secondary and higher education in the roles of high school teacher and college counselor, college admissions officer, college professor and administrator, and independent educational consultant. They are parents themselves who have undertaken the college admissions journey with their own kids.
Admission Matters covers all the nuts and bolts of college admission—from developing a balanced college list to applying for financial aid. Tucked into appendices, there are worksheets, an application timeline and an annotated list of additional resources. And to keep Admission Matters as current as possible, the authors are maintaining a website with free updates and additional materials.
I highly recommend Admission Matters to anyone with a college-bound student going through the process this fall or anyone wanting to be a little bit better prepared for the future.
And this recommendation goes for admissions professionals in colleges, schools, or working independently.
You won’t find a better, more comprehensive admissions guide on the market today.
Admission Matters is available online (on Amazon via the image below) and in bookstores everywhere.