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DS Education's TOP Curated University Success Book Picks for 2024

As high school students, you’re now venturing towards the pivotal moment of applying to colleges and universities.

This is why having a reliable roadmap to guide those steps is essential. Whether you're a student set on charting your academic future or a parent aiming to support your child through this transformative journey, the right preparation book can be your compass in the often-complex landscape of post-secondary planning. At DS Education Group, we have curated an exclusive list of top-tier college/university preparation books tailored for you. Each book offers a wealth of knowledge, from exploring academic passions to navigating the admissions maze.

Our Top Recommendation — "Architecting Your Future by Design: Dream, Plan, Prepare, and Cultivate a Successful Life You Want to Live!"

At the top of our list is our very own gem — “Architecting Your Future by Design.” This comprehensive guide lays the foundation for a successful academic and professional trajectory. Expect practical steps for dreaming big, strategic planning, meticulous preparation, and cultivating the life you aspire to lead. It’s an indispensable manual for actualizing potential and envisioning a future without limits.

Essential Reads for College/University Preparation

No. 1: The Canadian Campus Companion: Everything You Need to Know About Going to University and College

●      Authors: Erin Millar & Ben Coli

●      Overview: This comprehensive guide covers essential topics for Canadian students transitioning into post-secondary education, including practical advice on how to choose courses, handle workload, find housing, manage finances, and tips for academic success.

●      Why It's Useful: It serves as a roadmap for students who are stepping into the world of higher education and need guidance on navigating through various aspects of college life.

No. 2: First Year University: A Survival Guide

●      Editors: Dennis Field & Nancy Gray

●      Overview: Compiled from real-life student stories, this book offers an authentic look into the experiences one might face in their freshman year, including personal growth challenges, academic adaptation, and social life.

●      Why It's Useful: The firsthand accounts provide valuable insights that can help incoming students set realistic expectations and prepare psychologically for university.

No. 3: The Ultimate University Survival Guide: The Uni-Verse

●      Author: Jack Edwards

●      Overview: With a humorous yet honest approach, this guide touches on everything from application processes to living away from home for the first time, dealing with stress, and making friendships that last.

●      Why It's Useful: Its relatable content resonates with students looking for a less formal, more conversational piece of advice from someone who has recently been through the process.

No. 4: Writing at University: A Guide for Students

●      Authors: Phyllis Creme & Mary Lea

●      Overview: This book addresses the importance of writing skills in university education, offering guidance on crafting essays, reports, and dissertations, along with strategies for effective communication and critical thinking.

●      Why It's Useful: It arms students with the necessary writing tools that are crucial for both academic success and future professional endeavors.

No. 5: University Planning for Canadians for Dummies

●      Authors: Caryn Mladen, David Rosen & Pat Ordovensky

●      Overview: This guide simplifies the university planning process for Canadian students, providing step-by-step advice on selecting a university, understanding financial aid options, and tips for thriving academically and socially.

  • Why It's Useful: It breaks down complex processes into understandable actions, making university planning accessible for everyone.

No. 6: Maclean's 2024 Colleges Guidebook

●      Overview: Maclean's 2024 Guide ranks Canadian universities in categories reflecting research, programs, and opportunities. It evaluates them on 12 indicators like faculty success and student support, relying on data from Statistics Canada and other agencies.

●      Why It's Useful: This guidebook helps students choose the right university by analyzing key factors such as awards, grants, and reputation through comprehensive data and peer reviews.

No. 7: How to Find and Win Scholarships

●      Author: The guide is written by a former university Admissions Officer with firsthand experience in the scholarship process.

●      Overview: This 50-page guidebook provides a roadmap for Canadian high school students seeking post-secondary scholarships. It explains how to identify scholarship opportunities, craft compelling applications, and offers practical tools like sample essays and templates. The guide covers both university-awarded and external scholarships, such as those offered by community groups and corporations.

●      Why It's Useful: "How to Find and Win Scholarships!" demystifies the scholarship search with actionable strategies and insider tips. Students and parents gain clarity on writing essays, obtaining references, and effectively reusing application content. The book eliminates guesswork, instilling confidence in applicants and improving their chances of securing financial awards for university.

No. 8: The Study Skills Handbook

●      Author: Stella Cottrell

●      Overview: Cottrell presents a range of study techniques and strategies to help students identify their learning preferences, improve their focus, and enhance their academic performance.

●      Why It's Useful: It encourages students to adopt a proactive approach to learning, which is beneficial for both their academic and professional lives.

No. 9: Career Planning for Teens: Discover the Proven Path to Finding a Successful Career That's Right for You!

●      Author: Seth Hicks

●      Overview: This guide aims to help teenagers understand their strengths and interests, connecting them with potential career paths, and outlining steps to achieve their goals.

●      Why It's Useful: It empowers teens to take control of their future by providing a clear framework for career exploration and decision-making.

No. 10: Teens' Guide to College and Career Planning

●      Publisher: Peterson's

●      Overview: This book offers advice on a wide array of post-secondary options, with chapters on college applications, vocational training, military opportunities, and workforce entry.

●      Why It's Useful: It recognizes that college isn't the only path after high school and helps students explore all viable options to find their best fit.

Why This Booklist Matters

Embarking on the path to higher education can be as thrilling as it is challenging. The right resources can reduce uncertainties and empower students to make informed decisions. The titles in this list delve into essential topics such as choosing the right institution, understanding the admissions process, and preparing for entrance exams. Moreover, they address the softer yet equally important aspects of preparing for higher education, such as personal growth and goal setting.



As someone standing on the brink of a significant life transition, having these resources at your fingertips is not merely helpful—it's imperative. They are guides crafted by experts and educators who have distilled their wisdom into pages that will help shape your future. 

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