The Best 373 Colleges, 2011 Edition Paperback – Aug 3 2010
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"The Best 373 Colleges (2011 Edition)" (840 pages) is similar to last year's edition. After holding the number of best colleges at 371 last year (remember this book started off in 1992 with the best 350), this time there are 2 new "best" colleges: Austin College and the University of Missouri-Columbia. Not a single school from last year's list was dropped (if the inflation of "best" colleges continues, I surmise we'll get to 400 by 2020 or so). There are over 60 fun-to-browse top 20 lists of best/worst, such as "Most Beautiful Campus", "Students Study the Most", "Party Schools", and "Most Politically Active Students" (my daughter is attending the #1 ranked school on that list, it was ranked #2 last year, so yes these rankings change from year to year).
The best feature of this guide remains the 2 page layout for each of the colleges, with in-depth information on campus life, academic selectivity (the number of applicants, how many were accepted, and of those how many actually decided to attend), up-to-date tuition and room/board costs (I checked the numbers of the college that my daughter is now attending, and they are accurate), etc. Another aspect that is very helpful is the "Survey says" sidebar, in which the essence of the university is distilled from the college students themselves, and "The Inside Word" segment on how tough it really is to gain admission when all is said and done.
The proof is in the pudding: of the many college guides out there, my daughter spent more time with this book (when she was looking at colleges a few years ago) than with any other. This book is not the first place to start the college search, but once your son or daughter has narrowed down his/her colleges of choice, and assuming those colleges are featured in the "best 373", this book clearly is the best resource, the last step before a campus visit, and can be used again following the campus visits. I've looked at a lot of college-search books and if I was forced to recommend only one book among all the college search guides, this book is clearly it.
DONT try to think you can get away with just one reference book though - they ALL design them with limited info so that you need to buy multiple books. This book is a great addition to the mix. it has summaries of real student surveys - real insider opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of each school - I wanted to know if these were party schools, or which ones have drinking problems, or which ones emphasize greek membership - this book goes there with anonymous student feedback. GET THIS BOOK
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