learning about types of colleges

<p>Mitchell L. Stevens' book "Creating a Class" discusses the admissions process at Hamilton College, a liberal arts college in New York. He mentions that many prospective applicants had never heard of Hamilton and were unfamiliar with private LAC's in general. I was a good high school student who had only heard of the most selective research universities and of the public universities in my state.</p>

<p>What are good books surveying the kinds of colleges and universities out there? I know of "Colleges That Change Lives" by Loren Pope and "Harvard Schmarvard" Jay Mathews. Both books have specific points of view, so it's probably good to read both and also other books. There are guides to colleges such as those published by Princeton Review, but before reading 1-2 page profiles of particular schools, I think high school students should first get the "lay of the land".</p>

<p>I haven't come across anything like that... it seems like it would be more of a pamphlet than a book (or maybe something in an intro to a book?). You will often see the recommendation out here that kids visit a few different types of schools to start with if they are not sure what they want (large state U, regional U, LAC), and also try a rural and an urban campus. It isn't something in writing, but allows them to experience each type.</p>

<p>Fiske does a pretty good job of describing the environment of each college in the book, but I don't really think it has an overview like that.</p>

<p>No book is a substitution to visiting, talking to current students, get a feel of the campus and how it fits your personality and wide range of current and prospective interests. Worry about your personal match, not somebody else's assessment, ranking, etc., it has backfired for many who went to great school and only discovered later that there is no way for them to be there for 4 most important years of their lives, simply not going to work.</p>

<p>It's interesting: I really have never seen a book or article like that. It would be a great introduction for the Princeton Review or Fiske books, or part of a "How To Pick A College" book.</p>

<p>The Petersons site has some articles you might like in its College Search and Choosing a College sections (see College</a> Search - Find a College That is the Best Fit for You at Petersons.com to start).</p>

<p>You also might want to tell us what general area you live in. People on this board might be able to suggest nearby colleges of different types (community colleges, liberal arts colleges, state universities, private universities, technical schools, other specialty schools) that you might want to investigate as part of your ongoing research. You might not end up going to a nearby college, but they're the easiest ones to visit, and visiting them can help you learn about your preferences.</p>

<p>Thanks to those who replied for their suggestions. I am not asking for myself -- I graduated from college about 20 years ago. It's for my kids.</p>

<p>Are you looking for some kind of overview that explains different types of colleges, universities, etc?</p>

<p>I read a ton of books when S was a senior last year. Most were helpful. Some were overview-ish, like Amazon.com:</a> Cool Colleges: For the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different (9781580081504): Donald Asher: Books some were fiction (better info than you might think especially when written by folks who worked in admissions), some were just presenting facts and figures about each. </p>

<p>Whenever someone recommended a book here that sounded interesting, I ordered it from my library. I also walked the young adult college section of my library and checked out anything that looked useful.</p>

<p>Thanks, ohiobassmom. The Asher book fits the bill, looking at the table of contents.</p>

<p>CC has a page of suggested books and it has reviewed them all. It's worth reading the reviews...
College</a> Confidential - College Confidential</p>

<p>One thing I did a few years back was spend an hour or two at a Barnes and Noble looking at the various college books: the big college guides, the "how to get in..." books. I would take a stack over to their cafe and browse through them with a nice cup of coffee. I made notes on titles that looked interesting and useful. Most of them I just borrowed from the public library. I did buy the Fiske guide though.</p>

<p>Don't some of the big guide books have an intro chapter or two? </p>

<p>Some of the college search sites have useful into material. Here is one:
<a href="https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/college%5B/url%5D"&gt;https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/find-colleges/college&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Definitely get this one: The</a> Neurotic Parent's Guide to College Admissions: Strategies for Helicoptering,Hot-housing & Micromanaging: J.D. Rothman: 9780983459415: Amazon.com: Books - you are a Cc poster and you will get all the jokes :)</p>

<p>I don't remember who originally posted this on CC, but the book Choosing a College: A guide for Parents & Students by Thomas Sowell is an excellent place to start.</p>

<p>I agree with MiamiDAP ... there's no substitute for visiting. Many college reference books listed Tulane, Emory and Miami as "similar." DD didn't find them at all similar.</p>

<p>Yes visiting is important, in the beginning we picked local schools of different types to visit. The idea was to get the feel for a big state U, an LAC, a medium sized U. We also liked this book, "Looking Beyond the Ivy League, Finding the College that's Right For You", also by Loren Pope. And, "Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College" was thought provoking.</p>

<p>I agree, visiting is the best way to get started. Take your child to 3 schools in your area , summer after sophomore year even, one small school, one medium school and one large school. Take the tour at each school but no need for interviews, meeting with profs, etc. yet. Just get a feel for the size of campus. In the car, before you pull out of the parking lot, have your child write down 4, 5, 6 things about the campus, good or bad then review those at home when you are done visiting all of the schools. It doesn't matter if they are schools they would attend or not, just getting a feel for the campuses. If you can narrow down size, that makes the rest of the search so much easier.</p>

<p>Junior year you can focus on programs, potential majors, geography, etc. I would strongly suggest getting as many campus tours done that you can during junior year. It gets busy senior year with applications, etc. Narrow down the list to 10 or so schools and figure out how many you want to apply to.</p>

<p>Senior year, get applications in early and plan visits to the top 3 if need be to narrow down the final choice.</p>

<p>Every school looks good on paper or in a book. You will learn WAY more on this forum then in any book.</p>

<p>Just requested a couple of the Fiske books from the library. Find out lots of things on CC!</p>

<p>SteveMA
You are always so full of insight and practical tips. I only wish i had found CC and you and others a year or two ago. There is just no way we can afford (financial or time wise) too many more trips to campuses now that senior year has begun in ernest. </p>

<p>Nontheless .... We are forging full steam ahead as best we can.</p>

<p>kelijake1987--that is why you go locally to start. You can do a local tour in an hour on a Saturday afternoon if you need to. All it costs is gas money. Once you see what size/setting they like for campuses, you can "tour" online-look at Google maps, look at the earth views/street view if available to see if the area is what you want. You can rule out campuses that way a lot of the time. A LOT of schools have fly in days for accepted seniors where they pay for out of state students to fly in and visit campus, look for those to do your final tours. It does get expensive to tour out of area schools.</p>

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<p>I have Sowell's "Inside American Education" book, published in 1993. There he recommended</p>

<p>The Fiske Insider Guide to College
The Insider's Guide to the Colleges
The National Review College Guide (1993)</p>

<p>as books that take a descriptive rather than statistical/rankings approach. The first two books are updated annually.</p>

<p>Ohiobassmom beat me to it, but I would second the vote for **Cool</a> Colleges** by Donald Asher. (But I'd go for the newer edition that I've linked to.) One of my absolute favorite books - can't recommend it highly enough!</p>

<p>"Looking Beyond the Ivy League" by Loren Pope and "The 75 Biggest Myths about College Admissions" by Dr. Jerry Israel. Both of these books point out that there are many more great colleges than just the handful that so many people are so desperately pursuing.
A school isn't necessarily worthless just because your seventeen year old friends haven't heard of it. There are hundreds of places that can provide a great education , a wonderful place to spend four years, and a great start in your professional life.</p>