Resources Worth Exploring

There’s no shortage of information and advice for college-bound juniors and seniors (and their parents.) As with most things, some resources are more thorough and reliable than others.

Here’s a curated list of ones that students I’ve worked with have found most useful. Be smart and stay informed; but don’t let all the experts become a distraction.


Write Now! Tools

Download your Write Now! College Essay Tracker (it’s free!).

Tech Note: When you first download and open the file, it may appear as if there’s no info–don’t panic. Simply move the bottom slide bar all the way to the LEFT so columns A, B, C etc show and you’ll see where you need add your college info/essay data. As you add your info, be sure to save the file to your hard drive / cloud account, etc.

Write Now! College Essay Tracker

Getting Started

Khan Academy. Founded by Sal Khan, Khan Academy has a wealth of materials, including a great college section with videos featuring admissions directors from various colleges and universities. The links below are worth a review:

bigfuture | The College BoardA mix of interviews and tips direct from the source—college admission team members.

College ScorecardA U.S. Department of Education College Affordability and Transparency Center resource for finding and evaluating college choices.

Reach HigherA White House initiative aimed at inspiring every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.

Alumni FactorSchool ratings based on a broad mix of factors. Detailed look at 200+ schools.


Writing Resources

Write Now! Essential Tips for Standout Essays by Maura Allen. Whether you’re just beginning to explore possible essay themes or want a coach to help you navigate your way to a stronger story, this is where to start.

The Blue Book of Grammar & Punctuation by Jane Straus, Lester Kaufman and Tom Stern. Comprehensive with easy to find and follow tips. A good complement to Elements of Style.

Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.. There is nothing better—really. Rock solid grammar advice, plus a list of 60+ commonly misused words and writing missteps.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach or Punctuation by Lynn Truss. Study it. Keep it close and use it often. It’s rare when a punctuation book makes the New York Times best seller list—and this one did. You’ll see why.

On Writing Well by William Zessner. A classic with enduring lessons and tips.

Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. The go-to book for fiction and non-fiction writers by one of the best editors—ever.

The Blue Book of Grammar & Punctuation by Jane Straus, Lester Kaufman and Tom Stern. Comprehensive with easy to find and follow tips. A good complement to Elements of Style.


Writing Extra Credit

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. Read it now—and then read it again every year. Lamott’s voice is warm and inviting—what every writer should aspire to.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. An inspiring and practical insider’s look at story and the art of telling it interwoven with reminiscences from the author of 50+ international thrillers, nearly every one an international best seller.

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilivy. Insights on clear, compelling copy from one of the most persuasive voices in business.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg. A quick read with sound advice.


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