20 Books to Read Before College [The Ultimate Guide]

Book reading helps us learn about ourselves since it affects our feelings. By reading books, you can shape your personality better and how you carry yourself under different situations. However, for the best experience as your college life begins, knowing which books to read before college is essential. Here we have shortlisted the top 10 fiction and top 10 non-fiction books every student must read before college.

Part 1. The Best Way to Take Notes for Books (Better Sharing and Storing)

As you keep reading books, you will learn a lot of important information. Noting them down means that you will never lose them. However, most people opt for taking notes directly on books. That is not the best practice since you cannot always keep all your books with you. So, you need something where all your notes are managed in a centralized way, and UPDF makes the best choice.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

The Best Way to Take Notes for Books - UPDF

It is a great pick for students since it has PDF viewing features and serious editing capabilities. UPDF brings many more benefits for students, including the following:

  • Student Discount.
  • One licensee works for all your devices.
  • UPDF Cloud brings dedicated cloud storage to you.
  • Annotations, comments, and many other ways of taking notes.
  • OCR to help you convert scanned document to editable format.
  • Applicable to both digital and physical copies of books, etc.

Let’s discuss how you can use UPDF for taking notes of your physical books with the steps below:

  • Open the UPDF application on your iPhone and use the scan feature to scan the pages or open a picture that contains the pages of that book. It will directly convert the images into PDF.
Scan image to PDF on iPhone
  • Use the pencil feature in the iPhone UPDF application to take notes directly on your iPhone.
iPhone UPDF application to take notes for books before college
  • Once you are done editing, you can upload that PDF file to the UPDF cloud and download it on other versions, including Android, Mac, and Windows.

Once uploaded on UPDF Cloud, you can manage all your notes centrally. It makes reading them on the go and sharing them with others extremely easy.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure

Part 2. 10 Best Non-Fiction Books to Read Before Going to College

Non-fiction books contain literature based on facts, and the benefits of reading these books are in improving your logical skills and reasoning behind things. It means that when you read these books, you will think about everything with solid logic behind you, which can help you a lot during college life.

Here are the top 10 non-fiction books you must read before college.

1. How to College: What to Know Before You Go by y Andrea Malkin Brenner, Lara Hope Schwartz

How to College is a book with practical advice for upcoming college students on maintaining balance in their personal life and academia. It teaches students different study skills, time management, planning their academic terms ahead, and other beneficial things like maintaining relationships with fellow students and teachers.

So, this book can help them create a roadmap for their college life to help them succeed.

2. First Year Student to First Year Success. By Tom Krieglstein

This book comes from an author with extensive experience as an educator and a college speaker. So, this book gives students insights and real-life examples about things new students need to do to excel at their college life right from the beginning. By reading this book, students can be aware of the challenges they will face as their college life starts and plan how to deal with them.

3. The Freshman Survival Guide by Nora Bradbury-Haehl, Bill McGarvey

As the name says, this book is the perfect survival guide for freshman students. The writers consider their college student experiences and explain how freshman students must plan different activities to survive in this competitive environment. The book discusses multiple tips in a format that is easy to follow, and the humorous tonality of this book keeps it interesting.

4. College Hacks Paperback by Keith Bradford

College Hacks is a book focusing on how students can use the available resources to get rid of stress and save time for multiple tasks. The book contains lighthearted tonal text along with multiple illustrations. So, its tips are effective since reading is kept interesting. Here new students can learn about the most common problems they will face.

5. Grown-Up Stuff Explained by Witty Ryter

A book that every 18-year-old must read before they start college. As kids grow up, they make many adult life mistakes. Reading this book will prepare students for an independent and professional life. It has teachings about all the necessary habits and skills a college student must develop to tackle professional life challenges.

6. Life Skills for Young Adults. By Ferne Bowe

A perfect guidebook for young people taking their early steps into professional life. The book covers professional advice with important topics most students suffer with, including finances and time management. Additionally, students can learn about managing stress, setting short-term and long-term goals, and managing different relationships in their professional life.

This book even includes worksheets and exercises that students can follow for a smooth college start.

7. College Match by Ph.D. Steven R. Antonoff, Milan Glosic

Read College Match if you want to excel at your college application progress. Searching for college, covering factors to make your application strong, and several other things are found difficult by applicants and their families. So, this book helps students shortlist the colleges they want to apply to and guides them on how to make their resumes, recommendation letters, and essays more impactful.

8. Who Gets in and Why by Ethan Sawyer

Another book that guides you through the college application process. It focuses more on how students can improve their essays to increase their chances of getting accepted into the college they want. This book teaches the roles of previous grades and scores in the application process and how extracurricular activities can help you make a strong college essay.

It also shares insights about different colleges and how applicants can ace their visit and interview to that college.

9. The Price You Pay for College. By Ron Lieber

This book is a must-read for families and students facing financial difficulties considering the college fee. It covers the tuition a student pays for college and teaches about different ways of getting into your favorite college, like financial aid, student loans, or scholarships. Students can plan their college finances by reading this book and making informed decisions throughout the degree program.

10. The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook by Jill Grimes MD FAAFP (Author)

This comprehensive guide focuses on the wellness and health of students. By reading it, students can learn healthy living habits and measures to manage their mental health to survive college. This book covers topics like:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Sexual Health
  • Sleep
  • Substance abuse, etc.

Most of these are new for many freshman students, so this book gives an overview of what is good for them and what is not good so students can plan a healthy life at college.

Part 3. 10 Best Fiction Books to Read Before Going to College

Unlike non-fiction books based on facts, fiction books are purely based on imagination, whether about characters, descriptions, or events. These are great for entertainment purposes, but you can feel changes in your personality and emotional health in the long run. Fictional books improve communication skills, social skills, and other cognitive abilities. So, here are the 10 fiction books you must read before college.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Students can learn about racism, morality, and injustice by reading this book. It has been regarded as one of the best pieces of American literature. Most of the themes this book covers are common problems today so that students can learn about them, have an idea about them, and can also solve the problems in their lives. This book is an excellent companion for developing critical thinking skills.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

A story of a mysterious millionaire expresses themes of wealth, corruption, and how it affects love in people. It is an influential novel about the culture that can express critical thinking and reading skills in students. It also helps in developing better interpretations and analyses of situations. The novel critiques wealth pursuit and encourages students to focus on their goals and values in life.

3. 1984 by George Orwell

A novel explaining how massive parties like government, political parties, propaganda, and censorship parties often suppress truth and freedom. Understanding the impact of the massiveness of a party and the propaganda power it holds is one of the most beneficial things it teaches students. Students can also learn how switching languages can help them shape beliefs and attitudes among people.

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This classic novel is about gender roles in marriage and social class in historical England. Reading helps students excel in academia by learning the art of literature and storytelling. It helps set life goals, keep the focus on those goals, personal growth, and even on family and love. Reading it before college can give students a perspective on the most important concepts they can discuss with fellow students.

5. Beloved by Toni Morrison

A haunting novel that explores the slavery of African Americans in the USA and events post-Civil War. The themes of this novel include memory, identity, and trauma that the main character and his daughter feel after they escape from Ohio. For students, it gives a perspective on the brutality of slavery and how it has affected generations over the decades.

Reading this novel can create a sense of love and appreciation among students for people from different cultures.

6. The Catcher in the Rye. By J.D. Salinger

Many students can closely relate to the story of this novel since it is about a kid who is finding meaning in life. The usage of slang also makes it perfectly relatable for many students, and reading it gives a different perspective on the experience of life for different students.

7. One Hundred Years of Solitude. By Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A story of seven generations in a fictional town gives multiple perceptions of reality, and it follows a unique tonality with a narrative style setting it apart from other novels. The novel can be helpful before applying for college since it teaches cultural values and storytelling, both of which can be helpful in writing impactful college essays.

8. The Lord of the Rings. By J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings is a masterful fictional novel that combines mythology and adventure with storytelling. The rich themes of this novel can help students think critically about friendships, the struggle between good and bad, and loyalty. These can be beneficial if understood before taking college. Lastly, it gives an extremely entertaining reading experience.

9. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

A book about the near future gives readers a different perspective on power, oppression, and gender, which can be terrifying in our society with several dangers. Reading it before college gives students a perspective on different gender roles and the importance of freedom. The book can be both entertaining and character-developing.

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray. By Oscar Wilde

A story of a young man circulating corrupting influence of beauty, pleasure, and youth. It has a timeless story that is thought-provoking and also entertaining. Students who read it before college can better explore complex themes in art, philosophy, and literature, and it promotes critical thinking.

Final Words

Book reading is not only about getting knowledge or entertainment but also evolves into better versions of ourselves. One can be more self-aware of one's environment and realize people, inspirations, energies, and motivations in real life. So, depending on the books you read, you can shape yourself into a better version.

Reading the right type of books is the key to positive development. So, check out these books to read before college since your whole environment and lifestyle will change. Reading these books will teach you how to deal with different situations.

Another tip is to use the right tools to your advantage. UPDF is one of the tools you don’t want to miss out on. It can help you read PDF books and take notes of the most important things in both digital and physical books.

Windows • macOS • iOS • Android 100% secure