Book Review – Get Real and Get In

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone. Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Dr. Aviva Legatt’s book Get Real and Get In: How to Get Into the College of Your Dreams by Being Your Authentic Self is somewhat unique as a ”how to get into college” book of advice. Dr. Legatt is straight with students from the beginning — she cannot tell you how to get in because there is no formula.

But the message of this book is an essential one and is also clear. ”I wrote this book because I want you to STOP TRYING TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION and to start living for yourself.” It’s the authenticity part of the title that can, in the long run, make more difference for your student than getting into any particular college. Once again, Legatt is clear. It is impossible to tell someone how to be authentic because then trying to do that would not be authentic. Once a student (and their parents) understands this paradox, it can free them to be themselves.

But in spite of the message that this book is not about a formula for getting into college Get Real and Get In is actually full of advice that will help your student not only get into the right college, but also succeed once they get there. As students use the many exercises in the book to learn more about themselves, they will be better able to choose the college that is right for them.

The book is full of stories, and we all like to hear stories. Students will enjoy reading stories about both people they’ve heard of and students who are just like them. They can identify with the lessons illustrated by the stories. The book is a wonderful balance of big ideas and practical advice.

We recommend giving this book to your high school student — but reading it first. Everyone will benefit.

About the author:

Dr. Aviva Legatt has been in the higher education field for over 15 years and is respected as a trusted authority in the field. She is the founder of Ivy Insight, a boutique college admissions consulting firm, and is an in-demand leadership and college admissions speaker. She has been hailed by the New York Times as a trustworthy expert on college admissions and is also recognized as an expert in corporate culture and diversity in her work as a faculty member for Coursera and the University of Pennsylvania.

What the author has to say about the book:

”I wrote this book because I want you to STOP TRYING TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION and to start living for yourself. I want you to start tyring new things and achieving excellence in those things — instead of running from the possibility of failure. I want you to avoid spreading yourself so thin that your sense of identity, your values, and your interests get completely lost.”

”In these pages, you’ll listen in on conversations with incredible leaders. You’ll learn the mindsets and action steps that people have embraced to start living their authentic lives. Each story can help you build your college admissions candidacy in your own authentic way. . . The lessons are timeless and can apply to students of any age. . . Each story shows you how you can strive to find your authenticity — and avoid the pitfalls of the Impressiveness Paradox. I want to help you achieve the college and career success of your dreams.”

”While other books offer formulaic advice on how to get a yes from the admissions committee, they stop there. What’s missing from those other guides are examples of how successful people have managed to find themselves as unique, individual humans — and live authentically. Ultimately, living true to yourself is what will help you win at college and life, beyond grades and test scores.”

What others have to say about the book:

”This book is full of the kind of advice that college applicants crave — and every helicopter parent desperately needs. Not just for getting into college, but becoming a leader any college would be proud to call an alum.”

Adam Grant, bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

”Full of practical advice from an admissions insider, this work will appeal to high school students, their parents, and guidance counselors.”

Library Journal

”The decisions we make about college profoundly shape our personal and professional trajectories. Aviva Legatt is a sage guide along the way, helping young people make smarter choices as they navigate their futures. Get Real and Get In is both grounding and inspiring.”

Dorie Clark, adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and author, Entrepreneurial You and Standout.

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