P.L. of Plainview, NY writes:

There are quite a few college planning books on the shelves (not to mention what an Internet search reveals). Are they worthwhile? If so, which books do I buy?

The College Whisperer responds:

Ahh. So many books. So little time!

Indeed, visit any Barnes & Nobles and you will no doubt find an entire section filled with books on college selection, college preparation, college planning, college life, and the all-important "how to" pay for college.

At my last visit to the bookstore, there were no less than three (count 'em, 3) books by different authors entitled, How To Go To College Without Going Broke. [I presume the sequel, How To Avoid Copyright Infringement Without Going Broke, is in the works. LOL]

For the most part, each book has value (especially to the author and publisher, who are paying for their kids' college education with your money), but, as those who hoard the books quickly learn, there is much redundancy, repetition, and redundancy (wait a minute. Didn't we just say that? ;-), with overlapping information and advice, much of which could readily be garnered elsewhere (i.e., the Internet or from the high school guidance counselor), were one to know where to look, to take the time to look, and to make the effort to look.

The tendency, particularly on the part of parents, who don't want to miss a beat, is to buy too many of the college planning books, adding to the ever-present information overload, piling confusion on top of frustration, and creating a giant black hole in the wallet, even before the first tuition bill comes due.

The key here is knowing which (if any) college planning books to buy (or, better yet, to borrow from recent grads or your local library -- they do still have libraries, don't they?), what to look for in the books, and, critical, separating fact from myth, where the written words conflict, or, worse still, collide.

At College Connection, all students have access to College Cafe, a compendium of essential links and resources that includes relevant and timely excerpts from the most popular (and some lesser known) college guides. Working with your College Connection counselor, you'll not only be pointed in the right direction in the stacks, but focused on the wheat rather than the chaff. In other words, less wasted time; no more asking, "Did I miss something?"; and, believe me, so much easier on the eyes (not to mention the thumbs) than leafing through thousands of pages of written material.

So, before you go broke buying the books that made other people rich, get organized, create a plan, and consult with the experts who will help you navigate that road to college!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.
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