From the US News and World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” rankings to the burgeoning student review websites, information and spin are reaching a tipping point in college admissions. Combine the myriad of print and online college admission publications with the well-intentioned but hopelessly biased professionals on both sides of the desk and maintaining objectivity about the college search is a real challenge for families.
Bookmark our Helpful Links page to keep the most helpful college admission sites readily available. As your family enters the world of college admission, we recommend the following resources.
Recommended Reading: Books for the College Admission Process
Acceptance Written By: David L. Marcus
A year in the life of a school counselor in Long Island demonstrates the value of individual growth that can come from a carefully guided college search process. Read about it here.
The Gatekeepers Written By: Jacques Steinberg
A year spent “behind the scenes” of Wesleyan College’s admissions process offers a taste of the angst that college admission officers face in any given recruitment season. Read the NY Times review here.
Colors of the Mountain Written By: Da Chen
This memoir is not a modern description of the college process in the U.S. But, it reminds us of the value of a high-quality college education and the fortune of access to it.It's a great suggestion for students or parents over-hyping the process. Read more here.
Our Favorite Search Tools For Every Personality
“List Maker’s Dream”
Available lists span everything from “Schools for Gleeks” to “Schools with Distinction in Dance” to “Schools with a Club Sailing Team.”
“I loathe rankings”
USA Today’s college search tool is based on the National Survey of Student Engagement. The methodology couldn't be more different than US News.
“Comprehensive database, please”
College Board’s search tool allows user-defined searching on a number of key parameters.
“No more web-surfing: I need a book!”
For a comprehensive guide that includes all colleges and universities, we suggest the College Board’s College Handbook. This guide is as comprehensive as it is dense. You can’t find anything better for complete and accurate college data. Read more here. For a smaller, more usable guide of the nation’s most popular colleges and universities, we like the format of Fiske Guide to Colleges. Also, check out The Princeton Review's The Best 376 Colleges, click here for a full review.
College Application Process Tools
What does an application look like?
Many schools will require students to complete the Common Application, this site allows students (and parents) to see what the application will require.
College Essay Help
We suggest the gift that keeps giving: Purdue Online Writing Lab (because college-bound writers should use this comprehensive site for every college writing assignment).
Again, we recommend the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Though it is designed with a college senior in mind, the advice applies perfectly to the expectations of the college admission process as well.
College Admission Process Overview
The College Board offers a number of resources for families navigating the college process. This list of college application FAQ’s is a good introduction to the information available on the site.
Smart Phone and Tablet Users
Put your fancy technology to use on the college process. Check out this guide to the top 100 plugged in campuses. We agree that the Hopkins Interactive is second-to-none for today’s college searching families.
• College Visits
• Helpful Links