Here is a list of useful and informative books about the college and financial aid application process. Make sure you purchase the most recent edition. Most guides are updated yearly.
The Fiske Guide to Colleges by Edward B. Fiske
A favorite for many years. Gives an excellent overview of colleges, academic programs, and social flavor. Should be a staple for most homes with a student approaching college age. Enjoyed by both parents and students alike. Is updated every year!
Choosing the Right College by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) Takes a serious look at 125 elite colleges. It describes, in depth, the academic curriculum, political climate, and campus life. This book provides a detailed analysis of the core curriculum at each school. Whether conservative (the leanings of the book) or liberal it gives excellent insight into the schools it discusses. Preferred by parents.
Colleges that Change Lives by Loren Pope Though this book only contains forty colleges, it is well worth reading. It contains descriptions of non-designer labeled colleges that provide an extraordinary education and unusual opportunities. Preferred by parents.
Cool Colleges for the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, Just Plain Different by Donald Asher Another book with descriptions of colleges that fall outside of the most elite. It is clever, humorous, and filled with tidbits of information about schools, program, and reputation.
The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges by the staff of the Yale Daily News
A narrative guide that gives an irreverent look at the social environment of 300 of the most elite schools. It contains student to student comments. The descriptions sometimes turn students away from colleges they have never seen even though they may be a perfect fit. Preferred by students.
A is for Admission by Michele Hernandez
A detailed description of the Ivy League admission process by a former admission’s officer from Dartmouth College. Quite informative, but scary to many. Not recommended for student reading.
Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be By Frank Bruni
The anti-dote to the College Admissions Mania. This book addresses the need for parents and students to make the best match, the highest ranked school. Everyone should read it.
The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College by Jacques Steinberg
The Gatekeepers follows a diverse group of prospective students as they compete for places in the nation’s most elite colleges. The first book to reveal the college admission process in such behind-the-scenes detail, The Gatekeepers will be required reading for every parent of a high school-age child and for every student facing the arduous and anxious task of applying to college.
Paying for College Without Going Broke 2016 by Kalman Chany The definitive guide on applying for financial aid. Chany gives the best tips on the appropriate legal way to fill out the forms to your best advantage. It is revised every year to keep all the facts straight.