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A comprehensive, step-by-step guide to college admissions that helps students through every aspect of the application process and gives them a proven approach to make their application stand out from the rest.

College admissions has never been more stressful. Not only is admission ruthlessly competitive, with more and more qualified students applying each year, but the application process has become more confusing than ever before. Most parents and students feel anxious, overwhelmed, and confused by the choices and trade-offs.

In! is based on the authors’ 20+ years of experience working privately on boarding, college, and graduate school admissions with students from all over the world. While there is no shortage of college admissions guidebooks on the market, In! offers students and their parents a crucial element that none of the others does: a clear, step-by-step strategy that helps students not only compete academically with other qualified applicants but also develop a defining interest—in incremental, attainable steps—that distinguishes them from their peers and gives them an edge with college admissions officers.

This strategy is summed up in a four-word phrase: "be alike but spike." This means that the applicant must perform on par with other students applying to similar colleges, while also working to stand out from the pack—like a spike on a graph—in one area. (Ironically, it’s often the "well-rounded student," an ideal many applicants strive for, who gets rejected.) In! shows students how to create that distinction by identifying and "layering" their passion, showcasing their interest in many different ways and circumstances.

Enlivened with instructive case studies as well as entertaining New Yorker cartoons, this book carefully guides students through the application process, showing them how to rise to the top of an applicant pool of thousands. And unlike most books about "getting in," In!’s lessons do not end at college acceptance. Rather than viewing college admissions as a hurdle to be quickly and painlessly cleared, mother-daughter team Luterman and Bloom present it as an opportunity for students to mature, expand their horizons, and discover what makes them tick. Not only does In! get you in, it gives you the tools and confidence teenagers will need for future success.

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