Welcome to the Mom Knows College Resources section, a curated list of the tools, books and websites I strongly recommend for taking steps in planning for college. I’ve used or read every recommendation on this page.
Many of the resources listed here have been instrumental for the families I’ve worked with in college planning.
Before digging in, an important disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to buy something. I recommend them out of personal experience and I’m so very grateful for your support of this site in this way. Thank you!
>> Finding the Right College Match
You’ve heard of the Ivies and the colleges that are broadcast through the media in top rankings lists, but check this book out for a crazy-in-depth look at some amazing colleges you likely didn’t know even existed. Could be a hidden gem or two here for your teen to consider!
You’ll find comments from current students and faculty and rankings on the social and academic atmospheres at each school. There are also GREAT indexes at the front of the book for sorting schools by price and location. Of course, it’s got the GPA and test score info your teen’s looking for to know what’s required for admissions, too.
My favorite part? The “Overlap” section for each college – it shows similar colleges that students should also consider that they likely haven’t thought or known about!
>> SAT/ACT Testing
PrepNow tutors are the most elite in the industry and are held to extremely high standards. The scores our students have achieved after prep with us are fantastic.
And the location? Couldn’t be more convenient. The tutors meet virtually anywhere your teen is via Skype and a shared whiteboard using a proprietary curriculum written by our exceptional team.
Score increases are guaranteed, too.
Sure, I’m biased. But after working with thousands of students with this program I’ve seen some incredible results and some crazy-ecstatic families!
Oh, and my girls get tutoring at PrepNow, too, and are thriving. (Thanks Elizabeth!)
ACT Testing Timer | SAT Testing Timer
Tutors I’ve worked with have used the ACT and SAT testing timers with great success with their students. It will help your teen keep track of time while prepping for exams and on test day with pre-set times for each section.
It also has a watch function.
And importantly, it’s completely compliant with testing room regulations.
NOTE – If you’re looking for an SAT timer, you’ll have to wait a bit. Since the SAT changes that happened in March 2016, the company hasn’t released a timer to coincide with the new timing for those sections. I’ll add that link here once (if?) it’s released!
The best thing about the book is the practice exams. If you’re looking for great prep for the ACT, though, check out PrepNow Tutoring (above).
>> Teen Self-Development
I lovey-love-love this book for teens. I read the “grown up” version myself and made some huge changes in my life because of it. I got this one for my girls and some big changes were made almost immediately after just reading the first couple of chapters. My oldest’s grades went up after learning those principles, and we continue to refer back to the book often for guidance when we need it.
Great for a mom-and-teen book club! (Ha – good luck suggesting that, though.)
You may have read the grown-up version of this, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in the past. If you haven’t, go do it. It’s been a very influential book in my life, and there are so many successful people who’ve used this for inspiration and guidance. Can’t beat that testimony.
This one’s written for teens, and it’s a good’n for understanding how to be successful in life and to get where they’d like to go.
The workbook is a great supplement to the book in helping to apply the habits teens learn in the book and make a great road map for the future.
This calendar has Changed. My. Life.
First, it’s huge – 48″ x 32″ and it takes up a good portion of my office wall. But the whole gosh-darned year is on there! In one glance I can see what’s planned for 12 months at a time.
I use different colored dry-erase markers for different categories: Personal stuff, College planning stuff, work stuff, family vacations, important events – you get the drift. I use it in conjunction with my Google Calendar, and it’s made me so incredibly organized.
GREAT for goal-setting, too!