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Want to Study Abroad? Befriend Books This Summer

For highschoolers looking at applying to top global universities, reading books is college 101.

Most top global universities look for students who are passionate about learning, and who are curious enough to take the initiative and challenge themselves intellectually. Reading books helps hone your critical and analytical thinking skills, expand your vocabulary and develop higher levels of focus and concentration. Many students opt to write their application essay on how their required reading influenced the direction of their studies, or marked a coming of age that changed them as a person. Some take summer reading lists further to exemplify leadership: write a story themselves, or create a community group that discusses books.

The 2021-2022 Columbia University specific questions  for undergraduates requires students to write about required reading they’ve enjoyed in school as well as books, essays, poetry, short stories or plays they’ve read outside of academic curriculum.

We know it’s always a challenge to find books that’ll not just pique your interest, but also be worth your while. So we’ve compiled a list of resources that should help you overcome your roadblocks and get you hands-on tackling that TBR (To Be Read) list.

  • The Goodreads Top 100 Books To Read Before College  list is based on ratings given by your peers. You’ll find a predictable yet deserving mix of some well known and some must-read books on this list. Popular books to start with are: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, 1984 by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein.
  • If a Top 100 list seems too challenging, try the Goodreads Fun Summer List  instead, that helps you discover books based on reader personality!
  • If you’d just like to know what your peers are reading, head to this list that details the required reading lists of private and public schools in the US .
  • For the more seasoned readers, we also love Berkeley’s summer reading lists ; each year has a distinct theme and recommendations based on that theme.
  • You could always find popular recommendations using the #bookstagram or #opencanvassummerreads on Instagram.

And while we wish you luck in demolishing these mighty lists, take heart, should you find yourself stumbling.  As Donna Tartt succinctly said, “It is better to know one book intimately than a hundred superficially.”

Have fun with reading!


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