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Eight First Choices


  • Choose the right colleges
  • Create the most college acceptances
  • Endorsed by more admissions deans than any other guide
  • 208 pages
  • Retail: $14.95
  • Click to Get Special Amazon Price

What's Inside

Eight First Choices is the culmination of 25 years of experience from premier college counselor Joyce Slayton Mitchell. You will learn how to take charge of the admissions process and how to successfully apply to your eight first-choice colleges.


HARVARD “Mitchell offers many great insights into the complexity of the college admissions process and what should be the overriding concerns of the vital issue of the match between the student and the college.”
—William R. Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions

CONNECTICUT COLLEGE “Joyce Slayton Mitchell has won my heart with this thoughtful and practical guide to the college admissions process. Her advice is straight up and free of gimmicks—a rarity found in today’s college admissions resource books.”
—Martha C. Merrill, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid

NORTHWESTERN “Trust Joyce Slayton Mitchell. Her advice gives everyone—students, their parents, and their counselors—the ‘can do’ confidence to get through college admissions without meltdown. Read this book in sections and read some of it out loud. You’ll like what you hear. Ms. Mitchell knows the hearts—and minds—of students and their parents.”
—Sheppard Shanley, Senior Associate Director of Admissions

LYNN UNIVERSITY “It’s a how-to-with heart—less about gimmicks and more about caring for the student and his or her experience of the admissions process. The approach is quite sane and really very helpful.”
—Delsie Z. Pillips, VP for Enrollment Management

CARLETON “Mitchell provides a strong personal advocacy for student decision making in the college-search process. If you can compare the search for the right college in 21st-century America to a wild, white water rafting ride, then you want this author as your river guide. There are . . . uncertainties, unseen rocks, and too many rapids among the many options facing young people in choosing a just-right college. Ms. Mitchell places the decision-making process squarely in the hands of . . . students and provides the most useful tips for guiding their choice process. It is well done and [a] must read for every college-bound student.”
—Paul Thiboutot, Dean of Admissions

SMITH “Eight First Choices” makes a scientist out of the high school senior who sets out to collect data until she finds her eight perfect matches. America’s vast college resources are highlighted as this book shows students how to measure all of our different campus cultures.”
—Audrey Y. Smith, Director of Admission

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN “This is one of the finest publications about college admissions that has come out in some time. The author was able to apply her extensive knowledge of the real issues that create anxiety among students and parents and artfully provide an effective road map to help students navigate their way through the college admission process.”
—Ted Spencer, Director of Admissions

MACALESTER “Mitchell offers a primer on how to help the deans get to know you. She convincingly makes the point that the key to ending up with a satisfying final college choice relies on the student’s approach to the process—critical self-examination, thorough research, complete investigation, plenty of organization, and an open mind throughout.”
—Lorne T. Robinson, Dean of Admissions

DUKE “For many years Joyce Slayton Mitchell has given outstanding advice to families seeking guidance through the college admissions maze. And we in the admissions profession have enjoyed her valuable insights, sharp opinions, and clear writing as she has examined the college selection process. This thoughtful and well-organized book, which distills her years of experience, is no exception.”
—Christoph Guttentag, Dean of Admissions

DICKINSON COLLEGE “After thirty years in college admissions, including Colgate and Johns Hopkins, I know that highly selective college admissions has become superficial—colleges are now arrogant (‘maybe you just might be good enough to get in, maybe not’) and the students are myopic (‘I must get into an Ivy university or I will be nothing’). And in my thirty years, I have read countless books claiming an insider’s view and offering advice. They have way too much clutter for profit and are too short on sound counsel that is student centered. Enter Joyce Slayton Mitchell and Eight First Choices. This is a must read for the very bright student who thinks ‘Prestigious U’ is the only place for her, as well as the above average student who is scared to death that he won’t be accepted anywhere. Mitchell tells it like it is—it’s about the student’s learning style and educational objectives, and about discovering the range of college options to find the right fit. I speak often around the country on the same topics. Nobody does it better than Mitchell.”
—Robert J. Massa, Vice President for Enrollment

HAVERFORD “Joyce Slaton Mitchell is very knowledgeable about the constant changes in the admission profession. Her overall expertise and emphasis on student ownership of the admission process is invaluable for anyone applying to selective colleges and universities.”
—Michael J. Keaton, Senior Associate Director of Admission

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA “This is the only book that puts you, as the college applicant, at the center of the admissions process. Eight First Choices will encourage you to be philosophical, thoughtful, and strategic about your college choices.”
—Eric J. Kaplan, former Director of Admissions

BRYN MAWR “This is, by far, my first-choice guide to the college admissions process. Joyce Slayton Mitchell’s experience, authenticity, and no-nonsense approach to college admissions will help students take a deep breath, appreciate the great diversity of college options out there, understand their own strengths, and end up at one of their eight first choices. Eight First Choices is the best advice on the college admissions process in print today.”
—Jenny Rickard, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

KENYON COLLEGE “Eight First Choices is a must-read for a successful college search. Joyce Slayton Mitchell has been on the front lines for decades and presents an incredibly wise and practical approach to finding your way through the maze of college choice.”
—Jennifer Delahunty, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

RICE “The most interesting and practical guide I have read in many years. A ‘must read’ for students and parents entering the college admission process.”
—Richard N. Stabell, former Dean of Admission

INDIANA UNIVERSITY “What a terrific resource for students and families! Eight First Choices is such a comprehensive, balanced, step-by-step guide to the college selection process, with an emphasis on the research and self-assessment necessary for assuring a good match. Use the extensive expertise and personal knowledge of Joyce Slayton Mitchell as you begin and complete your college search!”
—Mary Ellen Anderson, Director of Admissions

STANFORD “Joyce Slayton Mitchell is a real teacher. She uses the college selection process as a learning experience for students. She tells her students up front that they are going to learn a great deal about themselves and what’s important to them. As a result, they have a much better college selection experience. For students and parents undertaking the college application process, I can think of no better guide. This book distills [Mitchell’s] wisdom into 190 pages, and provides a most valuable piece of sanity and wisdom.”
—Robin Mamlet, former Dean of Admission

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH “Eight First Choices offers wise advice about the college search process culled from decades of Joyce Slayton Mitchell’s counseling experiences. This ‘stress-busting’ book infuses the reader with hope and energy on the first premise, ‘you are in charge,’ provides practical advice on how to make this happen, and ends with the affirmation, ‘be authentically and specifically you.’ Mitchell is indeed correct—selecting the right college can and should be an adventure in self-learning—and she provides a step-by-step practical guide to getting the job done right. Give yourself a gift, and make full use of this expert’s advice.”
—Betsy Porter

EMORY “During my twenty-one years at Emory, I have benefited greatly from Joyce Slayton Mitchell’s wise, accurate, and compassionate view of college admissions. Listen to what she says; she gets it right and she knows what’s most important in all of this: the students!”
—Scott L. Allen, Associate Dean, Director of International Recruitment

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: “‘Researching what's out there’ is the best Mitchell advice I've ever heard. Too many students apply to college without knowing all of their options. I recommend Eight First Choices to all of my best friends.”
—Dr. Kathryn M. Napper, Executive Dean for Undergraduate Admissions

COLGATE “There are those who have been trying to sell their publications by trying to lead college-bound applicants and their families into believing that making the best college selection is as simple as reading a list or two of ill-conceived rankings. For the applicant who is serious about doing meaningful research and reading valuable suggestions about how to indentify colleges and universities that could be ideal matches, Joyce Slayton Mitchell’s excellent book is exactly what they should be reading. The bottom line, though, is that Eight First Choices is a terrific piece of work.”
—Gary L. Ross, Dean of Admissions

DARTMOUTH “A thoughtful and well-done book. Joyce Slayton Mitchell knows of what she speaks.”
—Karl M. Furtenberg, former Dean of Admissions

WESLEYAN “This book brings the advice of one of the great college counselors to many who need it most—and haven’t typically had the advantage. You could read the first five pages and be a leg-up in the process. But don’t stop there! JSM knows what she is talking about, writes clearly in an easy-to-follow format, and shares very good, practical information that will help every student be successful in making the next step to college. I have given many copies to friends and family to help pave the way for a successful college search.”
—Nancy Hargrave Meislahn, Dean of Admission and Financial Aid

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Eight First Choices
Eight First Choices
By: Joyce Slatyon Mitchell
208 pages
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Joyce Slayton Mitchell

Joyce Slayton Mitchell has most recently acted as the Director of College Advising at independent schools in New Jersey and New York City. She has served on the Editorial Advisory Board for the College Board Review and on the school committee of US News & World Report's special college issues. She is the author of 36 works and travels throughout the United States, Europe and China giving college admissions workshops.