Must-Read Books to Check Out Before Applying to College

20 JUL 2020

By now, you probably know that summer is the optimal time to get ahead in high school. While there are many things you can do to get ahead like prepare for the SAT/ACT or level up your extracurriculars, reading is a fantastic and underrated way to expand your horizons and prepare yourself for college!

To help get you started, we created a three-part series featuring books, videos, and podcasts that will set students up for success in college! First, we’ve compiled a list of must-read books to read this summer. These titles range from non-fiction to historical fiction to self-help! While we’ve provided the titles, authors, and short descriptions, we recommend doing further research on books that spark your interest to ensure it is a good fit for you! The titles below are in no particular order - happy reading!

  1. The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama: This book features a series of interviews with the Dalai Lama offering college students insight on how to learn and understand how to attain fulfillment in both their personal and educational journeys!
  2. Atomic Habits by James Clear: This book is regarded for teaching students the life skills taught in school. It especially focuses on how to form healthy habits and how to break habits that aren’t productive or healthy!
  3. Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon: Entering the college environment will most likely introduce you to people of all different backgrounds. This book offers readers insight into what it’s like to be a student of color and what language and behavior is kind and what is not acceptable.
  4. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai: Arguably the most influential activist for equal opportunity for education, Malala Yousafzai recalls back on her childhood in occupied Pakistan and what it was like getting shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating for education for women. This book is an excellent reminder of the incredible opportunities that come with an education.
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: This book was originally crafted as a short story that the author, Angie Thomas, wrote in response to the police shooting of Oscar Grant. This book is great for students to get a better understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as difficulties faced by Black Americans, including code-switching.
  6. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath: This book is fantastic for students looking to learn more about effective communication and how to make something “sticky” and memorable, whether it be in a speech, blog, PowerPoint, or email! These skills are crucial for becoming a skilled writer and an efficient college student.
  7. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami: This fantastic novel addresses true friendship, addressing life principles, morals, and attitudes. The book will teach students how to appreciate true friendship and how to not-so-awesome realities of life.
  8. So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport: Thinking about studying biology or humanities? Can’t make up your mind? This is a fantastic book to read if you don’t know what direction you’d like to take in life!
  9. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe: Many argue this is the most influential novel ever written by an American. Stowe shares ideas about the injustices of slavery, pushing back against dominant cultural beliefs, and the abolitionist movement.
  10. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker: It’s no secret that the majority of high school and college students simply do not get enough sleep. Sure, students hear plenty of “get a good night’s sleep”. But what does that really mean? What is the benefit of a good night’s sleep?
  11. 1984 by George Orwell: This final title is a must for students seeking to get a better understanding of politics, sociology, and/or international relations. This book tells the story of a world divided between three totalitarian states. The book focuses on control, all human values, and living in a world full of hatred.

To learn more about how to get ahead or tailored reading lists just for you, schedule a time with one of our Academic Advisors to chat more about a personalized program handcrafted for you and your unique goals!

Shannon F.

Written by

Shannon F.

Shannon completed her Bachelors at Franklin University Switzerland where she majored in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies & minored in Social Justice and Sustainability. Shannon has a passion for environmental and social justice and immersing herself in new cultures. Shannon has worked in higher education and now works as the Community Outreach & Engagement Lead with Crimson. Shannon currently lives in California and enjoys reading, water polo, hiking, yoga, and traveling.

Chat with an advisor about other ways you can get ahead this summer!