Books about Preparing Children for College and Beyond

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Mark Kantrowitz

By Mark Kantrowitz

December 19, 2019

Raising children is like herding cats. They learn by watching, not by being told. If we try to prepare them for college by pushing them in one direction, they will head in a different direction.

Thankfully, they will be successful in spite of what we try to teach them. But, perhaps we can give them a nudge in the right direction.

These 32 books focus on providing practical tips and concise advice, plus a bit of tough love, about the transition from high school to college and the real world.

Some of these books are written for the parents, about how they can survive their baby’s first year in college without hovering too much. Some of them are written for the student, teaching them the real-world lessons that aren’t taught in a college classroom. All are rooted in reality.

Our own books,’s Complete Guide to 529 Plans and How to Appeal for More College Financial Aid, provide helpful hints about saving and paying for college.

Middle School Students

High School Students

The Transition to College

Life After College

Managing Money


Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Saving for Retirement

At, our goal is to help you make smart decisions about saving and paying for education. Some of the products featured in this article are from our partners, but this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

A good place to start:

See the best 529 plans, personalized for you