When starting to research colleges, some students immediately turn to the internet. And there's no question that college websites and social media can provide up-to-date information and real-time student views of an institution. But today I want to plead for three books (physical books!) that deserve a look.
1. The Fiske Guide. This directory of selective colleges was revolutionary when Edward Fiske, a New York Times education editor, first put it out in 1982. It still offers a mix of unbiased objective information and personal interviews that convey a sense of the character of each college.
2. The Insider's Guide to the Colleges. Written by the staff of the Yale Daily News, this collection of reviews provides a narrative description focused more on the concerns of prospective students. The authors use extensive student and faculty quotes to critique the dorms and food, drinking, sports, and the effects of Greek culture on social life. It can help to round out the picture painted by Fiske.
3. Colleges that Change Lives. Quite old now (first published in 1996), this compilation was also reovlutionalry in its time. The author, Loren Pope, describes these 40 small, liberal arts colleges as places that welcome applicants with a range of abilities, and reliably turn them into successful students. As he writes on the first page, "College isn't just about the end result. It's also about the means, the process, the path you take to earn your degree, whom you meet, and who inspires and mentors you." Think outside the box and consider including these on your college list.
These three books are a good place to start in developing a college list. For more personalized help, please call me at 847-660-8625, or click "Contact Me" at the bottom of the page.