- Series: Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, & Just Plain Different
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 2nd ed. edition (April 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580088392
- ISBN-13: 978-1580088398
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different (Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, & Just Plain Different) 2nd ed. Edition
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From the Publisher
* An in-depth look at the best-kept secrets in higher education for outstanding and unusual students, providing an insider's edge to getting accepted.
* Fully revised and updated with the most current information, including the latest on free colleges, the scoop on top-ranked institutions, and a new chapter on the rise of eco-schools.
About the Author
Career consultant DONALD ASHER is a featured speaker at more than 100 colleges and universities every year, coast to coast. A columnist for MSN Encarta and contributor to the Wall Street Journal's CareerJournal.com and CollegeJournal.com, he divides his time between Nevada and San Francisco.
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This book was clearly a labor of love, and it is has lots of interesting little ideas for where to look: for example, there's an in-depth review of Cook Honors College at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, not something most college guides will mention. (Unfortunately, the review is not in the index under Cook or Honors, but it appears in the table of contents at p. 107, though the entry actually starts on p. 105.) Another example is the author's own characterization of Bryn Mawr as having students with the highest humor index (they will get every joke).
There is a good deal of information in this book, but some of the content is outdated. For instance, the only sample college essay is the now gimmicky essay published all over the internet in the last 10 years, that begins "I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls..." and ends, "I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, I have spoken with Elvis. But I have not yet gone to college." The author acknowledges that it's old and a gimmick, so why include it? It's as if a seasoned college counselor took out his manila folder of clippings and notes and favorite anecdotes dating back many years and compiled them into a book without considering their usefulness. Conversely, however, many of the gems of wisdom in this book are still very good advice, such as why the size of a college matters, and why college rankings are almost useless.
My biggest complaint about the book, which I hope will be remedied in the next edition, is the layout. It's almost impossible to go from one page to the next and continue where you left off. Too many inserts, graphics, and disparate blocks of text make it quite confusing visually (my students agree). It's as if the book's designer thought that a quirky, messy layout would appeal to quirky students. There are instructions at the beginning for "how to use this book," but the pages remain confusing. I've attached a picture as an example. The index pages make it look as though a lot of colleges are described or reviewed in this book: they aren't. Most colleges appearing in the index are simply listed in a category of colleges students should look at. For instance, the index lists Macalester, and when you go to the page, you find Macalester with a list of colleges that are members of the Consortium of Liberal Arts Schools.
In the years since this book was published, many liberal arts schools mentioned in the book have become twice as selective and possibly out of the reach of "late bloomers." Loren Pope's Colleges that Change Lives would be a better option for late bloomers. Also since this book was published, the power of college search engines (one of them on the College Board's website) has grown exponentially, making books like these largely obsolete unless they contain very accurate, up-to-date information that is aimed at a particularly narrow range of students.