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Courier Article by David Locker
Sunday, April 22, 2001

College Guide Books: Here's a Rundown

That time of year is rapidly approaching when high school seniors must commit to a specific college. It is also none too soon for high school juniors to begin seriously researching colleges and deciding which campuses to visit this fall.

Being the father of two teen-age sons, the past two years have found me poring over various college directories and handbooks. I've found that the library has a wealth of books that will prove useful to your college search.

College Funding Made EZ by Coy R. Howe (Made E-Z, 2000).

The title is misleading, because it covers a lot more than just funding. This is the best general guide I have found.

The College Finder by Steven Antonoff (Fawcett, 1999).

Antonoff has compiled more than 500 quick-reference college-related lists. If you are looking for great schools for students with average grades, for example, he has lists of both state and private schools for you to consider. For those who are interested in balancing a healthy social life with academics, there are lists of schools where you can both work hard and play hard.

Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope (Penguin, 2000).

Pope profiles forty excellent small liberal arts colleges that have been known to admit "B" students on a regular basis. However, any "B" student who chooses one of these schools should be motivated to work hard, because he or she will be surrounded by a majority of students with high GPAs and test scores.

The Fiske Guide to College 2001 by Edward B. Fiske (Three Rivers, 2000).

The Fiske is a trustworthy guide to over 300 of the most selective and competitive U.S. colleges. Useful features of this guide are ratings for academics, social life, quality of life, and strength of programs.

The Insider's Guide to the Colleges 2001 by Staff of the Yale Daily News (St. Martin's, 2000).

The nice thing about this guide is that, though it also profiles about 300 top colleges, it also includes more state schools than other similar guides. This guide is written from the perspective of a college-age person and is the best guide for information on the social life of these schools.

The Best 331 Colleges by Robert Franek (Random House, 2000).

The layout of this guide makes it the easiest and quickest to use. It rates campus life, academics, difficulty of admission and quality of financial aid.

Barron's Best Buys in College Education by Lucia Solorzno (Barron's, 2000).

Look here for bargains. All listings are high in academic quality but relatively low in cost, though many expensive schools that offer generous need-based grants are not included.

David Locker is a librarian with the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library. The opinions expressed in this column are personal and do not reflect policies or official recommendations of EVPL.