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The Best 382 Colleges, 2018 Edition (College Admissions Guides) Paperback – August 1, 2017
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About the Author
Robert Franek is The Princeton Review's chief expert on education. He has visited hundreds of colleges over his career and has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX to share advice about college admissions.
The Princeton Review has been helping students, parents, and educators achieve the best results at every stage of the education process since 1981. They have helped millions succeed on standardized tests, and provides expert advice and instruction to help parents, teachers, students, and schools navigate the complexities of school admission. In addition to classroom courses in over 40 states and 20 countries, The Princeton Review also offers online and school-based courses, one-to-one and small-group tutoring as well as online services in both admission counseling and academic homework help.
Top customer reviews
"The Best 382 Colleges (2018 Edition)" (866 pages including 26 pages of ads) is similar to last year's edition. After holding the number of best colleges at 381 last year (remember this book started off in 1992 with the best 250, where have the years gone!), this year there are 6 new "best" colleges: Berry College, High Point University, Lycoming College, Manhattanville College, Pace University, and St. Joseph University. Conversely, five schools from last year's list were dropped. In the Introduction, the editor reminds us that this is the 26th edition of this book, that in 1992 they surveyed 30,000 students and now 137,000, and that in 1992 they averaged 120 surveys per campus, and now 360.
There are over 60 fun-to-browse top 20 lists of best/worst, such as "Most Beautiful Campus", "Students Study the Most", "Party Schools", and "Most Politically Active Students" (my daughter's school is ranked 4th, after having dropped out altogether last year, so yes these rankings change from year to year). Her school is also ranked 3rd in "College City Gets High Marks".
The best feature of this guide remains the 2 page layout for each of the colleges, with in-depth information on campus life, academic selectivity (the number of applicants, how many were accepted, and of those how many actually decided to attend), up-to-date tuition and room/board costs (I checked the numbers of my daughter's college, and they are more or less accurate for the 2016-17 school year, so you'd better check the website of your school of interest to get the upcoming academic school year's info), etc. Another aspect that is very helpful is the right page sidebar, in which the essence of the university is distilled, and Princeton Review's final assessment on how tough it really is to gain admission when all is said and done. I again re-read the listings of the various colleges that my daughter and my son considered before making a final choice (she chose a school in DC, which has 5 colleges profiled, and he stayed in Ohio, which has 14 colleges profiled), and I can only state that all of what is written in here seems very much on point.
In the end, the proof is in the pudding: of the many college guides out there, my daughter spent more time with this book (when she was looking at colleges a few years ago) than with any other. This book is not the first place to start the college search, but once your son or daughter has narrowed down his/her colleges of choice, and assuming those colleges are featured in the "best 382", this book, despite its imperfections (such as not quite current tuition and fees numbers) nevertheless is the best/most useful resource out there, the last step before a campus visit, and can be used again following the campus visits. I've looked at a lot of college-search books and if I was forced to recommend only one book among all the college search guides, this book is it, period.
When this book arrived, my son took an immediate look at the "Top 20 Lists" (photo below) and the pages on "Great Schools for Popular Undergraduate Majors." Those two sections were enough to get him interested in going further. If you have a child that doesn't seem very motivated in their college search, a book like this might open their eyes wider to the possibilities, and kick-start their real research.
This huge book has a comprehensive introduction explaining the ranking criteria for the 382 schools (each with a 2-page spread and sidebars that summarize the findings), and they are indexed in the back by name/location/tuition. Also included is a regional list of 271 additional schools that didn't make the cut, but are worth consideration. As a parent, I appreciated the list of colleges that are a value for the money, even when you don't qualify for any financial aid. Bonus: fill out the Princeton Review's "College Hopes & Worries Survey 2018" in the back for a chance at a $2000 scholarship.