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The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2013: Students on Campus Tell You What You Really Want to Know Paperback – July 3, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“Savvy parents and students hold this book to be a must-read.” ―New York Daily News

“As intimate as a late-night chat in a dorm room.” ―The Atlantic Monthly

“Invaluable in choosing and getting into a college.” ―Chicago Tribune

“Student-written profiles in The Insider's Guide...are lively and informative and strike the tone of a college pal offering advice.” ―Rolling Stone

“Who better to tell prospective students about life at college than current students?” ―Boston Herald

About the Author

The Yale Daily News is produced by the undergraduates at Yale University. It has been serving the university and New Haven, CT since 1878.


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Product Details

  • Series: Insider's Guide to the Colleges
  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 39 edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312672969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312672966
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Martens on October 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
The preface reveals this book's approach: choose information from the Common Data Set, standardized information released by all higher ed schools, and marry it with short essays that draw on the experiences of current undergraduates. It's a low cost approach. The data are free and the outsourced essays require only good editors who can crack the whip on deadlines and polish the prose.

Does it deliver on the cover's promise? Does it "tell you what you really want to know?" That's harder to judge, for the essays vary significantly in quality and aim at students, not parents. Access to beer is a recurring topic. Prospective students might find the book most useful prior to a campus visit.

This and other college guides fail to do innovative work that would help consumers better compare schools. Such work requires going beyond the Common Data Set and pushing schools to reveal information that they'd prefer to hide or downplay. So what's missing? What do I really want to know?

What are my chances of being unable to enroll in specific courses? Colleges have computerized their course selection process and should be able to provide detailed data on which courses are difficult or next to impossible to enroll in. The Amherst College essay notes: "Some students, however, are frustrated by the difficulties of registering for courses taught by Amherst's 'celebrity professors' ..." Too bad there aren't some overall statistics. This issue is probably more critical at large state universities where one reads that students often have to tack on a fifth year because they had difficulty in getting the courses they wanted.

What's the campus security situation? The Clery Act forced colleges to report on campus crime.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bear on August 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
The articles in this book are usually written usually by one single student from the college. So, you sometimes find yourself reading a opinion of someone very disgruntled and get a jaded view rather than an objective one i.e. one reflecting views of multiple students (which would be MUCH better. So, it's not so much an evaluation of the college/university as much as one person's feelings. I am not saying what is written is "right" or "wrong", rather it could easily be misleading. My suggestion is to save the money and either: a. take out multiple insider type assesments from the library to have a broader range of views on schools; or to look at a free website like college that has numerous student evaluations on a wide spectrum of issues concerning each school.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. L. Barksdale on February 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a college counselor and this used to be one of my favorite guidebooks. It has gone WAY downhill. I've found numerous inaccuracies and really warped descriptions of several schools after just opening it up today. I can't recommend this anymore. I'd try [...] instead, for a more balanced series of student voices.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
"The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2013" (946 pages) is a curious book. It brings an assessment of about 300 colleges and universities, but it never really explains how these places are actually selected from the 2000+ of colleges and universities out there, other than some general statements in the introduction. I am most familiar with colleges in DC (where my youngest is, and where I went myself) and Ohio (where I live, and where my oldest attended college), and while I perused some of the other chapters (they are listed state by state), I read the DC and Ohio chapters very carefully. First the good: the assessment of the colleges in DC seem right on target. I asked my daughter about some of the statements made in here about her particular college, and she agreed with them (I attended the same place, 25+ years ago). As for the Ohio chapter, it lists 12 colleges, including such institutions as as Ohio U and Bowling Green State U. The review on the Ohio college my son attended seems on point. But inexplicably, Xavier University (a fine Jesuit college here in Cincinnati) is left out of the book. Wow.

The book prides itself on providing "insider" information from students, and from that perspective it seems to do well. It also gives you some very brief and basic statistical info on what ACT and SAT scores need for the school, and how many are accepted and then actually enter. Beware of the real numbers, though: the tuition and room and board numbers for the school where my youngest is in DC seems AT LEAST two years old, if you can believe it. That said, this is not a book for HS students looking to start their college search (check out instead the recently released 2013 Fiske Guide to Colleges, or the Princeton Review's 2013 Complete Guide to Colleges).
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By ceewee on June 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We really used the "377 Best Colleges" for my oldest child, and chose this for our second one getting ready for a college search. We thought the description of my son's college was spot-on, and worried about the glowing reports for my daughter's choices. THEN we read the reviews on our local college, and they were scathing... that made us feel that this is not just a grouping of marketing reports. We really like this book.
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