- Series: Fiske Guide to Colleges
- Paperback: 848 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.; 25 edition (July 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402209592
- ISBN-13: 978-1402209598
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.4 x 1.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,353,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fiske Guide to Colleges 2009, 25E Paperback – July 1, 2008
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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. (Allen Grove About.com 20080908)
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. (Kristy Novoa Helium.com 20080801)
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.
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In some ways, the "Fiske Guide to Colleges" is the antithesis of books like "Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges". Whereas the "Colleges That Change Lives" book extols the advanages of small liberal arts colleges, the Fiske Guide seems to extol Ivy League and Ivy League wannabe schools. In fact, the author actually hints that the real reason some people say liberal arts colleges provide a better undergraduate education than Ivy League schools is due to sour grapes because they were not smart enough to get into the Ivy League schools!
Regardless of the reasons some people think small liberal arts colleges provide a better undergraduate education, there are some legitimate things to consider about the ratings in the Fiske Guide. First, the ratings and descriptions are subjective. They come from questionaires and interviews with those associated with the colleges. Ideally, it would have been nice if there would be some way to objectively consider every aspect of how a college meets the needs of various types of students. Unfortunately, there is no practical way to do that when considering so many colleges. Second, schools that the guide rates the highest academically tend to be the country's most prestigious schools (i.e., Ivy League and Ivy League wannabe schools), while most small private 4-year colleges are mostly rated academically average. However, the ratings cannot capture the value of smaller class sizes, a closer relationship of professors to their students, and a faculty in general more devoted to teaching than to research and publishing. Third, the guide's academic ratings do not prove that a school with world renown professors will give the typical undergraduate student much (if any) opportunity to learn directly from those professors. In fact, most of their classes will probably be taught by teaching assistants rather than the professors themselves. Finally, while reading the views of students at each college provides useful information about that particular college, it does not provide much in the way of comparative information. Most students will say good things about their colleges during interviews that they know will be published. The interviewed students have not attended the other colleges and are not in position to say their college is better than the others.
Despite its shortcomings, the "Fiske Guide to Colleges" is a valuable resource to have when evaluating colleges and universities. It provides College descriptions, and it includes ratings and statistics that most people will find useful.
The guide is good starting place and it is easy to find the important information, but further research on the web will be needed for most students to make their final choices.
I highly recommend it.
I would recommend it to all parents and students to help them start the college process. Though I would also recommend getting the book "Colleges that Change Lives", this and the Fiske are a good combination.
to have is this Fiske Guide. Using it, we are able to decide if a school is a stretch college or not.
Some of the percentages are higher than actual figures, but the 'guide' helps to compare colleges.