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 favorite? Add it in the comments section.

[descriptions 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 on 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 of implementing 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.

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, it also addresses such issues as homeschooling, learning disabilities, and single-sex education.

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.

The College Hockey Guides (Men’s and Women’s editions)
By Thomas Keegan

The College Hockey Guides have been completely revised for 2011. It provides valuable information on both scholarship and non-scholarship playing opportunities available to prospective student-athletes. You will learn how many scholarships are available at each institution; the number of playing opportunities by position at each school; how players you have played with, or against, have done statistically in the colleges of their choice; how to determine if you meet NCAA and NCAA eligibility guidelines; how to qualify for financial aid if you do not receive a hockey scholarship. Providing hockey recruiting, marketing, exposure and scholarship information for male and female hockey players since 1990. Counseling and consulting along with college and prep school coach articles and Q & A for players, parents, coaches, college counselors and educational consultants. Learn when and where coaches recruit and what they seek in prospective hockey players. Learn which skills camps, exposure camps and showcases attract coaches that want players like you. Learn marketing and exposure techniques that will get you noticed, recruited and selected. Seminars are available for teams, associations and leagues and private consulting is available for players and families. The guides are updated throughout the year to insure that NCAA, ACHA and prep school coach and program contact information is current and correct.

International 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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