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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Soaring college costs (now exceeding $250,000 in tuition and fees over four years at some private colleges) make selecting a college that most important investment decision many people will ever make.

Students and parents need to do as much research as possible to select the "right" school...the college that is the best fit for the needs and personality of a given student. The "Fiske Guide" is one of the best resources available. NOTE: The 2015 edition will be released in July 2014.

Unlike the free College Board website that provides a massive amount of objective data such as the number of students enrolled and tuition and fees, Fiske seeks to describe the personality of each college. The sort of person who would thrive at Skidmore College would most likely be miserable at Baylor University, and vice versa.

Fiske helps to clarify where a college lands on the spectrum of "serious intellectual environment" versus "Animal House". The Tanabe college guide also focuses on the personality of each college and seems both more up to date and more honest than Fiske. Tanabe discusses strong points and weak points of each college, while Fiske tends to ignore weak points.

It is impossible to visit every college so Fiske helps you select the ten or so schools that are the best fit for a given student so that you know which colleges to visit.

A major weakness of "Fiske" is that hundreds of very good colleges are not included. You also should buy the Princeton Review college guide and Tanabe's "Best College" guide. Between them, these three guides cover over 400 colleges and provide you with different viewpoints regarding the 200 most selective national colleges and universities.

Cost/Financial Aid: Fiske provides cost and financial aid information that is a year or two out of date. College websites provide current information about costs and financial aid.

At most of the "Top 100" private colleges and universities, the MAJORITY of students receive grants and scholarships averaging around $20,000 to $30,000 per year. A family with an income of $100,000 a year can get significant aid, and a family with an income of $200,000 a year with two or three children in college may also be eligible for grants.

Most colleges have greatly upgraded their websites. Many colleges now provide "video tours" and detailed admissions, academic, and "college life" information that goes far beyond what Fiske includes. College websites have information on "Early Decision I" and "Early Decision II" options that most books ignore. At the 50 top colleges and universities, "Early Decision" options are used to select a third or half of the entering class.

The College Board website provides FREE profiles of every college including admissions information and cost information.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The great reviews on the cover were a little misleading to me. This book offers information on a very limited number of colleges/universities- what Fiske considers "top" schools. We are just starting the "looking at colleges" process. Many that we had interest in were not included. This book was not what we were looking for. Good book if it covers a specific school that you have interest in, but not very helpful for those just starting out.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is really helpful for our daughter (junior in high school) who is frustrated wanting to go to college but uncertain as to where or to study what. The insights from actual students are included in a way that helps you understand the differences between the schools as an outsider.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
There is simply no better guide out there. I ordered it for all the counselors in my high school. Excellent perspectives offered on colleges that assist in getting a "feel" for campuses, academic programs, and hints about who might be a right "fit" for individual colleges.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
My friend told me about this book. I bought it and took it with me when we went to visit colleges. It was surprisingly accurate when it came down to the facts. I called it my College Finding Bible.
I am glad that I found it on Amazon. If you have a child who is preparing for college application, this is a very good book to have if you only want to buy one book. It is very easy to find the facts of a particular college. It gives you the information on SAT and ACT scores which you could use to gauge which college your student is likely to qualify. It is worth every penny.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
We are sending our first child to college. I had read that the Fiske Guide is one of the best. I am a person who does a lot of research when making important decisions, so I have purchased a few of the college guides. I think the Fiske Guide is one of the best -- a must-have.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The Fiske Guide is an excellent guide to providing subjective essays about each college/university along with up to date admissions/selection criteria/costs. It can often provide information that a web site or college listing guide can not do. It provides insights that might help in the college search prior to a campus visit and add or delete schools from consideration. Like all rating guides you will see if they are accurate when you set foot on campus. A good piece of information is the "overlap" box comparing one school to others where students apply. A great guide but needs to be used with other sources too!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Useful guide with lots of information for comparing and contrasting. Great as a baseline reference. We bought 3 different kinds of books and used this as the first pass reference looking further after reading Fiske's info.
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Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Bought this some years ago when my sons were visiting colleges. We would visit a college, read the description in here, and see that it captured the feel of the college-university amazingly. Both of my sons ended up attending colleges recommended in here: NYU Stern business undergrad program and Whitman liberal arts college in Washington State. Edward Fiske used to attend my church and although I didn't know him, it was like having Uncle Ed tell us the story behind each school. We had confidence in his perspective, and it was very helpful over a more impersonal college guide. One statistic which was important to both sons - they wanted to attend a college with more females than males so the odds would be in their favor to find a date.

Bought this 2014 guide as my youngest finished a PhD in economics and was applying to colleges for a position, so wanted an updated perspective on the different schools to which he was applying. Again, it was helpful in the interviewing process. He has a job and is now a professor at one of the fine liberal arts colleges mentioned in here.

This is my favorite college guide resource.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
So many colleges, so many guides. How is a parent to choose which fat paperback to buy? Easy. Your friend, who has older kids that have successfully launched the nest, tells you "Get the Fiske Guide." And good advice it's been. Including approximately 325 of the most "selective and interesting" colleges and universities in the US and UK, this guide features tidbits from current students, as well as insight into each school's strengths and weaknesses. An easy five point rating system ranks academics, social life and quality of life.

Looking for a 5 point social life university that is still in the top tier of academics (like our offspring), you can find it here.

The entries haven't been totally updated and there are a few mistakes (for example University of Colorado is no longer in the same athletic conference as University of Nebraska, so the CU/Nebraska rivalry is no more), but these are mostly immaterial to the overall quality of the information.
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