Each year, many high school students find themselves facing one of the most daunting ordeals they have ever encountered: finding and applying to colleges. We know this is difficult, and if this is you, please know that you are not alone. Fortunately, there is a helpful tool available to help you learn the essential things that you need to remember before embarking on this newest chapter of your life: the college guide. While there are certainly tips that you can find online, a college guide is handy because it condenses this information into one source.
The best college guides will definitely help make your life less stressful. However, you need to be sure to choose the most appropriate guide. So in this article, we will review ten of the best college guides available on the market, focusing on some of the characteristics that make them stand out from among the hundreds of products available.
What to Look for in College Guides 2019
As with any product, college guides can vary greatly from each other, offering different kinds of advice and focusing on different aspects of college prep, from writing admission essays and getting appropriate letters of recommendations, all the way to how to deal with obnoxious roommates. Finding the right guide will obviously be a personal choice. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when shopping for college guides.
Make sure you have the most current guide available. Information changes constantly, from college rankings to application processes, so having the most up-to-date information is essential. If you do end up with an older guide, we highly recommend visiting the college’s website as well just to make sure you have the most accurate information.
Whether you are still searching for the best colleges to apply to, or you’re looking for advice on balancing a job with your school, there are specific books to help you with the information you need. Invest in the guide that addresses your particular need(s).
Finally, be sure to gauge the depth of the guide. Make sure that the book that you are going to buy is comprehensive enough so that you don’t have to spend a fortune on four or five guides. While there are already a lot of guides that you can find free online, they only offer condensed and incomplete advice. The best college guides contain information that you would not necessarily find when you search on the internet. If the book is no different from online searches, then there is no need to buy that book.
All College Guides 2019
1. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2019
At the top of our list is the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2019. We consider this to be one of the best college guides available. It contains fully-updated content, provides an inside look at the best and most interesting schools in various countries, and provides a list of popular majors and strong programs for each school. In addition, it also gives basic admission stats for each school, including average SAT scores, financial aid stats, and acceptance rates.
2. The College Bound Organizer: The Ultimate Guide to Successful College Applications
The College Bound Organizer: The Ultimate Guide to Successful College Applications dives into the entire college application process. It addresses what admission officers are looking for in a student application, provides tips for building a personal profile (including common mistakes to avoid), and gives pointers for developing your essays to stand out and mark you as a promising and strong addition to your chosen schools. It also provides tips for securing recommendation letters, applying for financial aid, and handling admissions interviews. For those of you who are overwhelmed with the admissions process, this is a very useful guide.
3. College Admission—How to Get Into Your Dream School: Real Students, Real Stories
This guide also addresses the process of getting into college, but it begins much earlier during the process period, giving advice on what to do early on in high school to make your future college application stand out. How to Get Into Your Dream School provides personal stories and strategies from students, high school counselors, and college admissions officers, all of which are aimed at helping you choose and get into your dream school. Key topics include: how to choose the right college, application processes and tips, and advice for parents, among others. In our opinion, one of the real treasures of this book is the collection of actual college essays that successfully helped students get selected by their first-choice schools.
4. The Best 384 Colleges, 2019 Edition
If you’re having trouble selecting which colleges to apply to, you might want to check out The Best 384 Colleges. This book ranks and rates 384 excellent colleges based on a wide range of characteristics. These include: academics, campus life and the social scene, financial aid, administration rankings, etc. The rankings were compiled from the results of over 100,000 student surveys from across hundreds of schools. If any guide will help you select the best school for you, this would do it.
5. The Complete Book of Colleges, 2019 Edition
The Complete Book of Colleges is a mega-guide of 1,366 colleges and universities. This comprehensive guidebook offers profiles of public and private schools, in terms of admissions, financial aid, and academics, among others. It’s similar in scope to the previous book, but the material is presented in a different way and covers a much larger number of schools.
6. Best Colleges 2019: Find the Best Colleges for You!
This guide, also designed to help you decide on the best school(s) to apply to, gives invaluable help that some of the other books do not provide. As just a few examples, it gives advice on how to research college choices, draw up a shortlist of schools, and fill out a complete and memorable application. It also provides a range of college majors that are poised for growth, and even gives expert advice on landing remarkable financial aid package. The key feature, though, is being able to browse through its directory of over 1,600 schools.
7. Colleges That Change Lives
What makes this guide unique is that it whittles away the colleges until it selects what the book authors feel are the 40 best schools in the nation. There is a twist, however, in that most of these schools fly under the radar. In fact, you may not have even heard of most of them. There is also a chapter that guides students with learning disabilities to help find a school that will best suit their needs.
8. A Starter Guide to College for Clueless Students & Parents
The honestly-titled, A Starter Guide to College for Clueless Students & Parents, has got you covered if you want to gain more (and even basic) knowledge regarding college. It covers topics like applications, admissions, college selections, and advice on how to finish strong in college. It also covers standardized test practices, admissions statistics, checklists, testing rules, financial aid, and even an overall look at how to prepare for college from a financial perspective.
9. The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College
Among the best college guides we have presented here, this book has carved out for itself a distinctive niche, because it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the more social aspects of college. It covers the dos and don’ts of living in a dorm, social network etiquettes, and classroom introductions. It also gives stories from students from over 100 colleges, discussing the basics of some of the exciting (and potentially horrifying) experiences when going to college.
10. The Freshman Survival Guide
Completing our list is The Freshman Survival Guide, an updated guide that offers practical tools and tips specifically aimed at freshmen students as they navigate through college. It does not shy away from sensitive issues either, and covers such topics as sexual assault, mental health, and work-life balance. It also covers topics on dating, money, and focus. This guide does a remarkable job of helping students prepare for one of the biggest changes in their lives.
College is an exciting time, but the preparation and application process can be stressful. Fortunately, there are guides to help you through every step of the process, and we’ve tried to select the best ones available. Whether you are just starting to look for schools, or you are all packed and ready to move into your dorm next week, we hope this has been helpful, and we wish you the best. College can be stressful, but it is also a fun and exciting time, and these guides will hopefully help remove some of that stress for you, so you can focus on this awesome new chapter of your lives.