Paints a Too-Rosy Picture of All the Colleges, But Informative Nonetheless.
Reviewed in the United States on 13 July 2016
I'm a Harvard Grad (class of '02), professional test-prep tutor and college consultant based in San Diego, and I give this book my qualified recommendation.
I've been using the Fiske guide to Colleges with my students for over 10 years now. Although it's not my favorite college guide (that honor goes to Princeton Review's College Guide
The Best 380 Colleges, 2016 Edition (College Admissions Guides)
), the Fiske guide is still helpful and worth checking out for its unique perspectives.
However, be forewarned that the Fiske guide is not exactly an unbiased, realistic source of information. If you're looking for honest criticism of colleges as well as glowing praise, then don't bother looking here--it makes every college look great. Yes, student interviews are included, but they are overwhelmingly positive--it's almost as if these entries are extensions of the admissions department from each school. The most negative kind of comments you can find are those such as "classes are demanding" and "this school is for people who want to make a lot of money after college."
If you're like me, then as a college-bound student (or the parent of one) you don't just want to read the good news about your prospective schools, but the bad news too. If the dining hall food is lousy, the dorms are dreadful, or the town is not college-friendly, then this is something we deserve to know, rather than have glossed over in a sea of overblown praise. Look elsewhere for this type of critical information.
Here are the statistics provided by the Fiske guide:
Website, Location, Public/Private, Total Enrollment, Undergraduates, % Male/Female, SAT Ranges, ACT Ranges, % Financial Aid, % Pell Grant, Expense (they use categories, but why not just provide an exact full tuition cost?), % Student Loans, Average Debt (again categorized instead of a dollar amount), Phi Betta Kappa (Yes/No), # Applicants, % Accepted, % Enrolled, % Grad in 6 Years, % Returning Freshmen, Academics (rating), Social (rating), Quality of Life (rating), Admissions Phone #, Email Address, List of Strong Programs, Application Requirements.
I wish you the best of luck with your college search!
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