Want to know what this year’s Ivy League and Oxbridge admits are reading?

Posted 20 days ago

Super-curriculars is a term we use for the activities our students pursue outside of the classroom, to explore their subject of interest. As the summer approaches and students break from school, it is a great time for applicants to be thinking about their super-curricular engagement. One of the most fundamental and simplest components of super-curricular exploration is relevant and reflective reading.

Reading is a key academic skill and most courses involve an advanced level of reading and research. It should be no surprise that research over the past years has shown a strong relationship between students reading abilities and their academic success. The reading you undertake in your pre-application years will benefit you both in academic content and in exercising your reading skills, a key tool for University learning.

On top of preparing you for your course, what you read right now will help frame your application and in some cases is required as part of your application. Many top schools ask you to reference your current readings when you apply. Applicants to Princeton are required to name their favourite book when applying. Columbia University have a separate section for students to write down the books they read over the summer, the books they enjoyed throughout the year as well as the name of publications the applicant regularly reads.

The programme and universities you are applying to will help direct your primary selection for preparatory reading. You can build from this base list, to curate a personalised reading in line with your application strategy and themes of interest in mind.

The catalogue of reading should be composed of writings which reflects your academic interests, allowing you to develop your understanding of the subject beyond the scope of your school curriculum. Aside from helping you keep abreast of important or topical issues within the discipline, it is an opportunity to showcase your passion and initiative to deepen your knowledge within that discipline and its surrounding topics.

Crimson’s application experts keep a close eye on recommended leading university reading lists, and as such, have put together a cross-university list, loosely divided by discipline, to help you form the initial base of your summer reading plans.

Take a look at the plethora of choice below!

STEM recommendations

  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - R Skloot
  • Other Minds - P Godfrey-Smith
  • Mutants: On the Form, Varieties and Errors of the Human Body - AM Leroi
  • The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets - S Singh
  • Fermat's Last Theorem - S Singh
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity - R Kanigel
  • Hidden Unity in Nature's Law - JC Taylor
  • The Cosmic Onion - F Close
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman - Richard Feynman
  • Computational Fairy Tales - Jeremy Kubica
  • Out of Their Minds - D Shasha and Cathy Lazere

Economics & Business recommendations

  • 23 Things They Don't Teach You about Capitalism - Ha-Joon Chang
  • Predictably Irrational - D Ariely
  • Nudge - C Susstein and R Thaler
  • The White Man's Burden - W Easterly
  • The Bottom Billion - P Collier
  • The End of Alchemy - M King
  • Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman
  • Nudge - Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler
  • Freakonomics - Dubner and Levitt
  • Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
  • Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World - Anand Giridharadas
  • End This Depression Now!
  • This Changes Everything Capitalism vs the Climate
  • Monetary Policy and International Capital Flows
  • The Finance Curse - Nicholas Shaxson
  • Nine Crises: Fifty Years of Covering the British Economy from Devaluation to Brexit
  • Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life

Philosophy recommendations

Medicine & Bio-med recommendations

  • Being Mortal - A Gawunde
  • This is Going to Hurt - A Kay
  • When Breath Becomes Air - P Kalanithi
  • Unnatural Causes - R Shepherd
  • The Medici Effect -Frans Johansson
  • Life at the Extremes - F Ashcroft
  • The Man who mistook his Wife for a Hat - Oliver Sacks
  • The Rise of Consciousness - Oliver Sacks

Law recommendations

  • Landmarks in the Law - A Denning
  • The Discipline of Law - A Denning
  • Five Ideas to Fight For - A Lester
  • Invitation to Law - AW Simpson
  • Whiteness as Property - C Harris
  • Eve was Framed - H Kennedy
  • Letters to a Law Student - Nicholas J. McBride
  • The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court - Jeffrey Toobin
  • Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism - Mahmood Mamdani

Social Sciences recommendations

  • AI Superpowers – Kai-Fu Lee
  • The Everything Store – Brad Stone
  • Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World - Adam Grant
  • American Like Me - America Ferrera
  • On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City
  • The Welfare of Nations
  • The Great Transformation

Engineering & Physics recommendations

  • How Do Wings Work? - Holger Babinsky
  • Structures – or Why Things Don't Fall Down - J.E. Gordon
  • The Gecko's Foot: How Scientists are Taking a Leaf from Nature's Book - Peter Forbes
  • Feynman Lectures on Physics

Mathmatics and Statistics recommendations

  • A Russian Childhood - S. Kovalevskaya
  • The Man Who Loved Only Sumbers - Paul Hoffman
  • An Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning: Numbers, Sets and Functions

Chemistry recommendations

  • The elements of murder - John Emsley
  • The fats of life (sic) by Pond - Caroline M.
  • Elegant Solutions : Ten bBautiful Experiments in Chemistry - Philip Ball
  • The science of chocolate - S. T. Beckett
  • Oxygen: The Molecule that Changed the World - N Lane

Biology recommendations

  • The Demon-Haunted World - Carl Sagan
  • Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion - Year History of the Human Body - Neil Shubin
  • A Natural History of the Senses - Diane Ackerman
  • What it is like to be a Bat - Thomas Nagel

College Admissions Calculator Crimson Education

Transform your life, get a dream college offer