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How is it possible that Harvard is more affordable for most American families than their state universities? Or that up to half of eligible students never receive financial aid? Or that public universities are rejecting home grown middle- and working-class applicants and enrolling 25 to 50 percent wealthy out-of-state students? What are the right things to consider when deciding where to spend your time—and money—applying?

Susan F. Paterno, a veteran academic who knows what it takes to get the best candidates enrolled in her institution, answers these key questions and many more in Game On. Paterno is also a mother who helped four very different kids navigate the application process to a wide swath of colleges, paying for their four-year schools on a finite budget. She smartly decodes the college admissions process from the big picture to the nitty gritty forms-and-scores-and-disclosures. You’ll learn how to use a sorting hat of your own devising—narrowing your focus, figuring out who gets in and why, looking for the right financial fit before considering anything else, including geography and reputation and, above all, ranking.


Game On provides a smart, seasoned insider’s look at the complicated admissions process, cutting through the noise and distractions the schools throw your way. It will become your efficient and indispensable guide on how to understand and beat the system.

Unravels the Hunger Games of higher education and provides strategies to beat and reform a broken system.

Praise for Game On

"Paterno offers refreshingly honest insights into the inscrutable world of college admissions and financial aid. Meticulously researched."

—Library Journal (Starred)

“A witty and informative deep dive into the 'college admissions industrial complex.'”

Publishers Weekly

“A fearful and exhaustingly near-perfect read, GAME ON raises political, moral, social, ethical, and educational issues that we would rather not face, would rather not admit exist."

—National Federation of Press Women and California Press Women, 1st Place Award in General Nonfiction

“Shocking . . . exposes a corrupt system. An essential survival guide.”

—Mike Stanton, Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author

"Paterno uses a journalist's eye for investigative detail and the skilled storyteller's narrative talent to weave a complex and intriguing expose."

—Martin Dugard, New York Times

#1 bestselling author

Available Now
Hardcover and ebook
From St. Martin's Press

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