Books to Read Before College, 10 You Won’t Want to Put Down

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Don’t wait until the last minute to get your hands on these books to read before college!

woman reading in bed drinking

When you’re in the midst of your senior year of high school and getting ready to graduate there’s a lot going on!

You’ll be doing stuff like…

With so much to keep track of, reading may be the last thing on your mind.

Books to Read Before College

But:

If you find some downtime, or you’re feeling a little directionless about life after high school – picking up one of these books to read before college can definitely help. 

 Or at least, give you some ideas!

It took me 6 years post-high school graduation to figure out what I wanted to do! 

That’s such a long time and truthfully makes me feel kinda old. ?

Seriously though, if you don’t know what you want to do career-wise just yet don’t sweat it.

As they say:

Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Time is needed to create and do great things.

Okay, so:

I think I’ve rambled long enough. Let’s take a look at these books!

10 Books to Read The Summer Before College   

1. The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

About: After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, computer science professor Randy Pausch gives an awe-inspiring lecture on achieving your dreams.  

2. Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown.

About: After college you may feel vulnerable to the new “adult” world before you. This book by Brené Brown encourages you to embrace it, and take a look within. 

3. We Are Okay

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.

About: Exploring love, loss, and family – this book is an after high school must read.

Author Nina LaCour writes about Marin, a lonely freshman that moved across country with a grief-stricken past and a best friend that comes to visit, & unravel that past. 

4. A Starter Guide to College for Clueless Students & Parents

A Starter Guide to College for Clueless Students & Parents

A Starter Guide to College for Clueless Students & Parents: For a State College or the Ivy League: Here’s What You Need to Know by Mr. Jake D. Seeger.

About: A great reference guide with everything you need to know before choosing your college.

Helping you navigate all the ins and outs of finances, financial aid, admission statistics, college degree levels & more – this is a WORTH IT book to read before college!

5. We Should All Be Feminists

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

About: What does it mean to be a woman now?

In this essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, we take a look at feminism in the 21st century.

A wonderful book for male and female college-bound students.

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

(One of my personal favorites on this list!)

About: A classic coming of age story, this novel covers high school at its highs and lows through the eyes of Charlie and his senior friends.

Next up on my list of books you should read before college…

7. The Complete Guide to the Gap Year

The Complete Guide to the Gap Year (a book to read after high school)

The Complete Guide to the Gap Year: The Best Things to Do Between High School and College by Kristin M. White.

About: Not really feeling college or know what you want to do?

That’s completely fine! If you need some help navigating your gap year check this book out. 

8. The Group: A Novel

 The Group: A Novel

The Group: A Novel by Mary McCarthy.

About: Published in 1963, a story that is set in 1933 and is still relevant to this day.

Following a group of young women who have just graduated and begin to go their separate ways. Through tragedy, the group is united once again years later. 

9. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.

About: Have an itch to explore the great wilderness? This memoir is about just that.

Take a look at how she copes with her mother’s death & her divorce, by hiking through the Pacific Crest trail for thousands of miles alone and untrained. 

10. Letters to a Young Contrarian (Art of Mentoring)

Letters to a Young Contrarian (Art of Mentoring) - books to before college

Letters to a Young Contrarian (Art of Mentoring) by Christopher Hitchens.

About: Get inspired!

Christopher Hitchens writes about the mentors that inspired him – and the importance of disagreement.


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How many of these good reads have you already finished? These are 10 books to read before college that will help you prepare for the next chapter in life with confidence! Great life tips for students, click to see all 10! #college #senior #highschool #collegelife #student #studentlife #freshman #freshmanadvice #bookstoread #goodreads #collegebound #mustread #collegetips

Books for teens who are college bound and incoming freshmen. 10 books to read the summer before college with tips to help you start on the right foot! Click to see them all. #college #senior #highschool #collegelife #student #studentlife #freshman #freshmanadvice #bookstoread #goodreads #collegebound #mustread #collegetips

What other books would you recommend reading before college?

Jade
Jade

I'm Jade, a full-time college student pursuing a degree in nuclear medicine down in southern Oregon. Fun Fact: I'm a makeup and unicorn enthusiast! I'm just trying to navigate this crazy thing we call life, while also being a full-time mom to a fur child and a fur-less child.

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