On the Bookshelf — College-Related Resouces Worth Noting

The sheer number of books on every aspect of the college admission process is both overwhelming and confusing. Here is an overview of books that are worth purchasing or perusing at your local library.

Learning About Colleges: The Guidebooks

The Fiske Guide for Colleges remains one of our favorite resources for students interested in learning more about particular colleges. It provides more detail than most other guides on all aspects of campus life from academic offerings and distribution requirements to campus culture and descriptions of the surrounding community. Fiske is a good place for students to begin learning about a college. If they like what they read they can go into the college web site for more detail.

The Princeton Review’s The Best 371 Colleges provides far less detail on individual colleges than the Fiske Guide; however, it is useful for its admissions selectivity information and campus student surveys. The book gives an admission rating scale that gives an idea of how easy or difficult admission to a given school may be. This book also publishes an academic rating based on a survey of how interesting and accessible students perceive their professors to be along with data on factors such as class size. Excerpts from student surveys about everything from the quality of the library and the food, to political activism and social life are found throughout the book.

A useful guidebook is the K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD by Princeton Review. It provides an overview of the level of support and services offered by colleges along with admission procedures. Please note that this is by no means a comprehensive resource as some colleges elect not to be listed in the book, even though they may offer strong support for students with learning issues.

For Parents

Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years by Coburn and Treeger is a resource that parents might find useful from the beginning of the college planning process through the college years. The authors give an overview of how college has changed since the parents of today’s teens were students. The book provides an overview of what college students are encountering on campus — with an emphasis on the freshman and sophomore years — and how that might impact family dynamics as students grapple with their new place and identities.

Emotional Health and Well Being

Some students are unhappy at college. College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It by Kadison and Foy puts the issue in context and explains the range of reasons why students — even those without a previous diagnosis — might struggle when they arrive on campus. The book reviews what colleges are doing about mental health issues and offers advice for both parents and students.

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