"The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2013" (946 pages) is a curious book. It brings an assessment of about 300 colleges and universities, but it never really explains how these places are actually selected from the 2000+ of colleges and universities out there, other than some general statements in the introduction. I am most familiar with colleges in DC (where my youngest is, and where I went myself) and Ohio (where I live, and where my oldest attended college), and while I perused some of the other chapters (they are listed state by state), I read the DC and Ohio chapters very carefully. First the good: the assessment of the colleges in DC seem right on target. I asked my daughter about some of the statements made in here about her particular college, and she agreed with them (I attended the same place, 25+ years ago). As for the Ohio chapter, it lists 12 colleges, including such institutions as as Ohio U and Bowling Green State U. The review on the Ohio college my son attended seems on point. But inexplicably, Xavier University (a fine Jesuit college here in Cincinnati) is left out of the book. Wow.
The book prides itself on providing "insider" information from students, and from that perspective it seems to do well. It also gives you some very brief and basic statistical info on what ACT and SAT scores need for the school, and how many are accepted and then actually enter. Beware of the real numbers, though: the tuition and room and board numbers for the school where my youngest is in DC seems AT LEAST two years old, if you can believe it. That said, this is not a book for HS students looking to start their college search (check out instead the recently released 2013 Fiske Guide to Colleges, or the Princeton Review's 2013 Complete Guide to Colleges). If anything, this book might be helpful AFTER they have narrowed down their choices and then looking for some further insight. An alternative college search/guidance book I would recommend in a heartbeat over this (or any other book, for that matter) would be the Princeton Review's 2013 edition of "377 Best Colleges", which is the best college-shopping boon, bar none.