College Solution, The: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price

Financial Times
Lynn O'Shaughnessy  
Total pages
April 2012
Related Titles

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College Solution, The: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price
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This bestseller has been completely updated to provide you with the answers that you need to find wonderful colleges and universities at more affordable prices. The second edition of The College Solution, which contains approximately 90% new material, is aimed at helping parents and teenagers become empowered consumers as they navigate through the college process. Billions of dollars are available to pay for college, but not everybody gets their share. It's not always the families with the brightest students or the parents who are struggling financially who receive the most money. The College Solution shares the secrets of how you can capture some of this money for your own family. The book provides advice on such topics as financial aid, merit scholarships, athletic scholarships, admission hooks, the important differences between colleges and universities, college rankings, the best student loans and the latest online tools to evaluate the generosity of schools. O'Shaughnessy presents an easy-to-use, proven road map for getting past the ratings, and finding the right schools at the right price. No other book offers this much practical guidance on choosing and paying for college now - and no other book will save you as much money!


The popular guide on finding the right program and making college affordable is now 100% updated to reflect new trends in college financing!

  • The perfect college guide for 99% of American families whose kids aren't Ivy League-bound: save a fortune, and discover hidden academic opportunities, too
  • Extensive coverage of new online price calculators that are transforming college planning
  • Updated with crucial new facts about student loans, athletic scholarships, and how to make sure a college really performs academically

Table of Contents

Introduction    xiii

PART I  Shrinking the Cost of College

Chapter 1  Making College More Affordable    2

Chapter 2  Show Me the Money    4

Chapter 3  The Colleges with the Best Financial Aid    9

Chapter 4  Who Gets Financial Aid?    16

Chapter 5  Winning the Educational Lottery        21

Chapter 6  Calculating Your Expected Family Contribution    25

Chapter 7  A Revolutionary Calculator    28

Chapter 8  The Allure of Out-of-State Public Universities    33

Chapter 9  Looking Across State Lines for a Bargain    40

Chapter 10  Capturing Private Scholarships    44

Chapter 11  Will Saving for College Hurt Your Financial Aid Chances?    48

Chapter 12  Maximizing Financial Aid    53

Chapter 13  More Ways to Shrink the Cost of College    58

Chapter 14  Appealing the Verdict    62

Chapter 15  Getting Grandma to Help    67

PART II  Increasing Your Admission Chances

Chapter 16  Boosting Your Chances    72

Chapter 17  Finding the Right Match    74

Chapter 18  Ditching the Test    79

Chapter 19  Showing a College Some Love    85

Chapter 20  When Talent Is the Hook    89

Chapter 21  The Realities of Athletic Scholarships    91

Chapter 22  The Geographic Hook    99

Chapter 23  Why Being Rich Helps    104

Chapter 24  The Legacy Hook    107

Chapter 25  Playing the Gender Card    110

Chapter 26  Diversity Blueprint    113

Chapter 27  The Asian Student Dilemma    120

Part III  Knowing Your Academic Choices

Chapter 28  What's the Difference Between a College and a University?    124

Chapter 29  The Ivy League Myth    127

Chapter 30  What Is a Research University?    132

Chapter 31  What University Professors Do    137

Chapter 32  The Beauty of Liberal Arts Colleges    141

Chapter 33  What Is a Medium-Sized University?    149

Chapter 34  Why Community Colleges Are Popular    153

Chapter 35  Nine Ways to Generate College Ideas    158

Part IV  Evaluating the Academics

Chapter 36  Are Students Really Learning?    162

Chapter 37  What's Wrong with US News & World Report's College Rankings    169

Chapter 38  The Right Way to Use College Rankings    175

Chapter 39  College Rankings: An Alternative     179

Chapter 40  The Hallmarks of a Student-Centered University    182

Chapter 41  Staying in College Too Long    186

Chapter 42  Grading Academic Departments    193

Chapter 43  Kicking the Tires    195

Part V  Admission Nuts and Bolts

Chapter 44  What You Need to Know About High School Counselors    202

Chapter 45  What You Need to Know About Independent College Counselors    209

Chapter 46  Knowing What to Do When    216

Chapter 47  Writing Your Way Into College    222

Chapter 48  Visiting College Campuses    226

Chapter 49  Acing the College Interview    230

Chapter 50  Transferring to a Different College    235

Chapter 51  Getting Credit for Your Work    240

Part VI  Borrowing for College

Chapter 52  The Best Student Loans    244

Chapter 53  Private College Loan Perils    248



Lynn O'Shaughnessy is a nationally recognized higher-ed author, journalist, and speaker. She writes frequently about college issues for CBS MoneyWatch and for her own popular college blog at


Lynn has written or been interviewed about college for such media outlets as Money Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Fox Business News, Huffington Post, Parade Magazine, CBS This Morning,USA Today, and US News & World Report. She is the consulting director of college planning, K-12, at the University of California, San Diego Extension. She also is a frequent speaker on how families can find and afford great schools. Lynn's daughter is a recent college graduate and her son is a college sophomore. Lynn is a graduate of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism.


Reader Review(s)

“The College Solution provides a roadmap for students and parents trying to figure out the complex path to college. At every step along the process, Lynn O'Shaughnessy provides the necessary information families need to know about admissions and financial aid in an easy-to-digest format. Students and parents are inundated with information about college these days and this is a great book to help you figure out what really matters.”

-Jeffrey J. Selingo, vice president and editorial director, The Chronicle of Higher Education


“Chock-full of information about college entrance and affordability, O'Shaughnessy's second edition of The College Solution is sure to raise your admission and financial aid 'IQ.'”

-Seth Allen, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Pomona College


“The College Solution is an easy-to-read conversational guide to paying for college. Lynn O'Shaughnessy is a champion for consumers and will help you pick the college that is the best fit for you and your wallet.”

-Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and and the author of The Secrets to Winning a Scholarship


“Even though I've been labeled a 'college admissions expert,' this is a book that I wish I had read when my son was still in high school. Jam-packed with information about testing, college essays, interviews, financial aid, and much, much more, this highly readable guide will help parents and their children through an often confusing process.”

-Robert Schaeffer, a founder of The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest)