1. Countdown to College: 21 To-Do Lists for High School: Step-by-Step Strategies for 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Graders. Author: Cheryl Riley. This book is just awesome--it is concise and easy to read, and unbelievably helpful. It has to-do lists for each grade in high school, and every student (and parent) should have a copy to use! If you don't have a clue where to start (and even if you do), this book is an absolute MUST to making sure everything happens on the road to college. (Can you tell I love it?!)
2. How to Be a High School Superstar: A Revolutionary Plan to Get into College by Standing Out (Without Burning Out) Author: Cal Newport. This is a life-changing book. If it doesn't change the way you approach learning, studying, and living--then you haven't really read it. Really. It's that good. It's all about doing something different and meaningful to help you stand out on college (and scholarship) applications. And instead of approaching high school as a tortuous game of getting the best grades and high test scores, it will help you really love the process of learning and becoming a person worth admitting to a big-name school or awarding a top-dollar scholarship.
3. Confessions of a Scholarship Winner: The Secrets that Helped Me Win $500,000 in Free Money for College--How You Can Too! Author: Kristina Ellis. A great book that is motivational and helpful. It's not a list of scholarships to apply for--it's the story of how one student really worked hard, applied, and won scholarships. You could wait until your senior year to read it (it would still help), but it's even better if you can read this book early on in high school.
4. The Perfect Score Project Author: Debbie Stier. This book is half-manual / half-story of what TO DO (and even more important...what not to do) when approaching the SAT. I loved this book--especially because I was learning valuable information AND it read like a novel! You'll be motivated to study for the SAT (or ACT). Parents--you'll know how to navigate the standardized test with your child. Also--don't wait until junior year to read this book! Start reading it in your freshman or sophomore year. (But if you haven't read it and you are a junior, then read it NOW!)