"I'm a fan of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Each profiled school is described by a well-crafted 1,000 to 2,500 word essay that draws on information from students, administrators, and independent research. The book is pleasingly readable with concise side boxes containing numerical data on SAT scores, retention rates, acceptance rates, and so on.
Don't expect a ton of objective data in the Fiske Guide to Colleges. The lover of numbers would do better with the U.S. News and World Report Ultimate College Guide or Peterson's Four-Year Colleges. That said, numbers rarely tell the story of a school effectively. The essays in the Fiske Guide employ both subjective and objective information to capture the real "feel" of a school. Since picking the perfect college is more about a personality match than anything numerical, Fiske's efforts to capture the personalities of the schools should be applauded. " - About.com
"Any prospective college student should certainly purchase a copy of this book. Fiske's Guide to College 2008 will become your virtual bible as you begin and progress through the difficult and often overwhelming college admissions process." - Helium.com
"The guide is notable as much for its focus on each school's personality and quality of life as for its statistical data and admissions information. " - AP column Financial Bookshelf
"This guidebook makes an excellent effort to give students good, relative info for school-to-school comparisons." - Newsday
This is the encyclopedia of colleges. It covers the most competitive 300 colleges in the U.S., including SAT ranges, size of the student body, most popular majors, class size, information on the surrounding area, student life and crossover colleges. There is also a wonderful intro section that lists "best colleges" by area of study, like business, theatre or engineering. If you only buy one college book, this should be it.
About the Author
Edward B. Fiske served for 17 years as education editor of the New York Times, where he realized that college-bound students and their families needed better information on which to base their educational choices. He is also the author of the Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.