Must-read summer books from college admissions experts

'Nothing signals the start of summer more than this tower of half-read books'

Every year, Brennan Barnard, director of college counseling at The Derryfield School, compiles a summer reading list filled with titles he came across during the school year as well as ones recommended by other high school counselors and college admissions deans.

"A pile of books sits precariously on my bedside table, Jenga-like, and for me, nothing signals the start of summer more than this tower of half-read books," he writes in the Washington Post's "Answer Sheet" blog.

Barnard broke down books by topic; see a sampling below.

On parenting

Title: How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success
Author: Julie Lythcott-Haims
At the recommendation of Debra Shaver, dean of admission at Smith College

On education

Title: Where Everybody Looks Like Me: At the Crossroads of America's Black Colleges and Culture
Author: Ron Stodghill
At the recommendation of Jennifer Beros, director of college counseling at University School

Title: Remaking College: Innovation and the Liberal Arts
Editors: Rebecca Chopp, Susan Frost, and Daniel H. Weiss
At the recommendation of Karen Bartlett, assistant director of admissions at Middlebury College

For fun and thinking

Title: Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
Authors: Andres Ericson and Robert Pool
At the recommendation of David Bonner, dean of King Low Heywood Thomas School

Title: Guyland: the Perilous World Where Boys Become Men
Author: Michael Kimmel
At the recommendation of Catherine McDonald Davenport, dean of admissions at Dickinson College

Title: Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work (A StoryCorps Book)
Author: Dave Isay
At the recommendation of Mindy Rose, director of college counseling at the Peddie School

Title: Americanah
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
At the recommendation of Chemeli Kipkorir, director of university guidance at the African Leadership Academy

Title: The Art of Fielding
At the recommendation of Eric Ahlstrand, assistant director of admission at Furman University

Our pick for admissions summer reading: How to pinpoint programs primed for growth

(Strauss/Barnard, "Answer Sheet," Washington Post, 6/15).


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