Every college counselor has his or her go-to resources: books, catalogs, web sites, directories and lists that they turn to all the time. Here is my list of six books that I use every day at work. These aren’t books that analyze or criticize the college admissions process; they aren’t books that give advice on how to pay for college. I’ll write posts about those later. What follows are my favorite printed resources (a post about web sites will follow, too) to help students create lists of colleges or universities to which they might consider applying.

Do you have as a favorite? Add it in the comments section.

[descriptions are taken from amazon.com]

Fiske Guide to Colleges
By Edward B. Fiske

For more than 25 years, this leading guide to more than 310 colleges and universities — fully updated and expanded every year — has been an indispensable source of information for college-bound students and their parents. Helpful, honest, and straightforward, the Fiske Guide to Colleges delivers an insider’s look at the academic climates and the social and extracurricular scenes at the “best and most interesting” schools in the United States, plus Canada and Great Britain.

In addition to the candid essays about each school, you will find:

  • A self-quiz to help you understand what you are really looking for in a college
  • Lists of the strongest majors and programs at each college
  • Vital information on how to apply, including admissions and financial aid deadlines, required tests, and each school’s essay questions
  • “Overlap” listings to help you expand your options
  • Selectivity statistics and SAT/ACT scores
  • Indexes that break down schools by price and state
  • A list of schools with strong programs for learning disabled students
  • All the basics, including email addresses and university websites

Plus a special section highlighting the 45 public and private Best Buy schools-colleges that provide the best educational value.


Rugg’s Recommendations
By Frederick Rugg

Rugg recommends over 14,000 student-oriented quality departments at quality undergraduate colleges and universities in the USA. Young adults looking for their preliminary list of undergraduate colleges to consider often start with Rugg’s book. For years Rugg has had an uncanny ability to implement a system that combines statistical analysis with direct communication with hundreds of secondary school counselors around the country. He and his staff are able to sort and sift the objective with the subjective and aid the student with 120 college major lists of recommended departments.


512btokwpt5l._sx324_bo1204203200_Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges
by Loren Pope

Prospective college students and their parents have been relying on Loren Pope’s expertise since 1995, when he published the first edition of this indispensable guide. This new edition profiles 41 colleges—all of which outdo the Ivies and research universities in producing performers, not only among A students but also among those who get Bs and Cs. Contents include:

  •  Evaluations of each school’s program and “personality”
  • Candid assessments by students, professors, and deans
  • Information on the progress of graduates

This new edition not only revisits schools listed in previous volumes to give readers a comprehensive assessment, but it also addresses such issues as homeschooling, learning disabilities, and single-sex education.



The College Finder: Choosing the School That’s Right for You!
By Steven R. Antonoff, PhD

A compilation of nearly 700 lists that will help students zero in on the colleges where they will get-in and fit-in. In Dr. Antonoff’s word’s, “The primary goal of The College Finder is to expand the pool of schools that students consider, extend the possibilities they envision, and magnify their sense of power as they research colleges.”

Essentially, this is is a book of lists. The Fourth Edition features lists of schools organized by these topics: About Me, Academics, Student Life, Athletics, Costs, Admission, Expert Opinions, Tidbits and Trivia, and Resources. Want to find out which schools charge no tuition, combine undergraduate degrees with a medical degree, offer toy design, are committed to the environment, love their football teams, seek diversity in their student body, or have unusually accessible teachers? Just check out The College Finder!


K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
From the people behind the Princeton Review

A comprehensive resource for selecting the right college for students with learning disabilities, this book includes profiles of over 300 schools, advice from specialists in the field of learning disabilities, and strategies to help students find the best match for their needs.

Each school profile includes:

  • Services available at each college—from tutors to special testing arrangements
  • Admissions requirements for each program
  • Policies and procedures about course waivers and substitutions
  • Contact information for program administrators

This guide also provides a reference list with essential program information for an additional 1,000 schools.


109250bInternational Student Handbook of U.S. Colleges
By the College Board

The International Student Handbook 2012 is the only book exclusively for foreign students! It has information on 2,900 colleges, including each school’s “international profile.” This guide covers financial aid, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirements, housing availability, and special services for international students. It includes step-by-step guidelines on how to prepare for and apply to colleges in the United States, find financial aid, and obtain a student visa. An appendix lists EducationUSA advising centers around the world, where students can go locally for assistance and more information. Comprehensive indexes and a detailed glossary of terms will help students find schools that meet their needs.


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