Must read books when planning for college.

As I was writing the 5 Major Steps course, I read many, many books on preparing kids for college, paying for college, choosing the right major and more. These were my favorites.

Homeschooling for College Credit; second edition by Jennifer Cook -DeRosa

One of the best ways to prepare for college and save money on college is by gaining college credit in high school. Jennifer Cook-DeRosa walks you through the lesser known aspects of high school planning that create credit earning opportunities at every turn.

Perfectly suited to the homeschool family, this book has everything you need to build a successful high school curriculum that earns college level credit at home. Jennifer shows you how to become an amazing high school guidance counselor for your family, the top 10 must-have high school resources for homeschooling families, game plans for average kids, or highly motivated ones!

Using Jennifer's "6-layer technique" for curriculum development and studying, she gives you the tools to create a $5000 "homemade scholarship" for each of your children! Even if you've never been to college, this book will turn every parent into a well-versed homeschool guidance counselor! A MUST READ!

Beating the College Debt Trap by Alex Chediak

When a friend recommended this book I bought it immediately. College debt is a hot topic, and I have seen it be a trap that prevents students from moving into independent adulthood. Chained down by student loans, we have had several recent grads live in our basement for cheap rent because their loan payments exceeded what they could reasonably afford each month, especially when taking into account insurance, car expenses, food and other necessities of life after graduation. This book is written to students, helping them think realistically, make smart decisions about their major, take charge of their money and succeed after college. But, I would also highly recommend it to parents. Part 2 contains excellent financial advice that is critical to understanding student loans and college choice. Chediak writes from a common sense Christian perspective encouraging students to have a goal of honoring God while achieving financial independence, and making a positive, eternally-significant difference in the lives of others.

Will College Pay Off? by Peter Cappelli

I saw this book in the public library and grabbed it on a whim. I renewed it so many times that I finally broke down and ordered a copy on Amazon. Written by Peter Cappelli, acclaimed expert in employment trends, the workforce, and education, this book provides a more academic cost-benefit analysis of a college education. Knowing that a college education has the ability to bankrupt students and their parents, Cappelli aims to help separate myth from reality in the search for a quality education for an affordable price. He addresses questions such as “What is the real link between a college degree and a job that enables you to pay off the cost of college?” and “How parents can find out what different colleges actually deliver to students and whether it is actually something employers want.” If you enjoy a well-researched analysis, this is the book for you.

Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller

While not written for college students per se, this book offers and excellent perspective on God’s plan for work, our problems with work, and integrating our faith in our work. I have used this book for several years in the Bible Study I lead of college seniors. Developing a biblical theology of work is critical for facing the challenges that lie ahead and for long term job satisfaction. Keller’s explanation of the effect of sin on work is eye opening , and his attack on the goal of self-fulfillment convicting. He states, “If you see life here as mainly about self-actualization and self-fulfillment rather than the love of God- you will get your life responses wrong, including the way you go about work.” This book is a must-read for anyone who desires to understand the way God uses work in the world to bring about His plans and purposes.

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