by Lillian Lutherman & Jennifer Bloom

Abbeville Press, $22.95, 304 pages

As with any important activity, preparation is necessary when diving in to the college application process. Mother and daughter team Lillian Lutherman and Jennifer Bloom offer applicants an outstanding guide with their book In! College Admissions and Beyond. This duo has a catchy concept: Be Alike but Spike. The applicant must perform on par with other students applying (specifically academically); yet also stand out in a unique way (able to contribute a special attribute or skill to the community). This interest is something the applicant chooses to do when they don’t need to do anything – something above and beyond that stands out.

The book is divided into four parts: Be Alike, Spike, and Pulling It All Together: The College Application and College and Beyond. Especially helpful is the fill-in template for an application activity chart and a list of action verbs to use in essays and interviews. Together Lutherman and Bloom have 20+ years of experience working as educational consultants. Having successfully gone through the college application process myself and having worked in a college admission office, I feel that the authors’ approach is an excellent one. Following the strategy creates an applicant that is competitive in all areas, and outstanding in one or two areas.

Elizabeth Franklin