The Best College Guide Books of 2019

By September 7, 2019 October 16th, 2019 Entrance Exam Resource Reviews
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When it comes to getting into college, the number one thing you have to think about is where you even want to go. Sure, you want to make sure you have the grades and the skills for the college you want, but what exactly is that college? Are you looking for the best of the best? Are you looking for something a little more fun? It’s all about knowing what’s out there. In this post, we’ll go over the best college prep books to help you in your search.

Each of these is one of the best college prep books you’re going to find. They’ll give you a glimpse of all of the different colleges out there and just what they have to offer for you. That way, you can be sure that you’re applying to schools that are going to make you feel great and give you an education.

Your ideal school might just be in the one of these, and the information you need in order to get in might be as well. After all, you need to know your qualifications, right? So start checking out the best college admission books possible as early as you can, long before you’re ready to actually start your applications.

Top Picks on College Guides

If you’re looking for the absolute best books you can find when it comes to heading to college, you’re going to want these ones. They’re the books that give you the most information and the best methods of comparing your potential schools, like the insider’s guide to the colleges. You’ll also find the Fiske Guide to Colleges in this category.

Fiske Guide to Colleges by Edward B. Fiske

One of the best books available anywhere (everyone will recommend it) is the Fiske Guide to Colleges. You’re going to want to pick up the latest version to get the most updated information, but you’re definitely going to be more than pleased with everything you find. The latest version right now is actually 2020, so you’ll be able to prepare even if you’re not applying until next year. Considered the best guide for colleges, Fiske Guide to Colleges is actually filled with information from actual students, including tips and things you’ll want to know if you attend.

The really great thing about Fiske Guide to Colleges is that it actually includes ratings for not just the quality of the academics at the school, but the social life and the quality-of-life as well. This unique guide has been around for over 30 years, and each year, the latest version gives more and more information to college-bound students. It contains over 300 different colleges that are considered the best or the most interesting, according to ratings of academic quality, top programs, and geographic diversity.

Why Choose This Book:

  • Explores over 300 different schools around the country
  • Displays information about distinguishing features of each school

What Makes it Unique:

  • Rates academic, social and quality-of-life
  • Explains the schools and what makes them unique for each student


College Board College Handbook by The College Board

The latest version of the College Board College Handbook features every single accredited college in the United States. That means you’re going to have information that may take you a while to go through, but it’s going to be comprehensive. If you haven’t narrowed your list down yet, it’s a great way to get an idea of what’s really out there. That means it’s going to cover over 2,200 four-year schools as well as 1,700 different community colleges and technical schools. No matter where you’re hoping to go or what you’re hoping to do there, you’ll have information you can use.

With the College Handbook, you can compare different schools, check out different indexes to find out more about the ones you’re considering and start your process of creating a short list. It can be a little bit dull for some readers, but it does give you a lot of information in a minimal amount of time. You’ll see what it takes to get into each school, what you need to do in order to fill out applications and even information about athletics, activities, majors and a whole lot more. The College Handbook is an excellent guide for those who are interested in continuing their education but just aren’t sure what the right fit is.

Why Choose This Book:

  • Information about how to apply for continuing education
  • Up-to-date information created each year

What Makes it Unique:

  • Evaluates essential information for home-schooled students
  • Offers comprehensive information on all accredited U.S. schools


Princeton Review’s The Best 384 Colleges, 2019 Edition by Robert Franek & The Princeton Review

If you’re still looking for the right college for yourself or your child, The Best 384 Colleges is a great place to start. You’ll find information about some of the best colleges anywhere in the country, and you’re going to see more than just the basic information. When it comes to choosing a college you want someplace that’s about more than just the education, and that’s why The Best 384 Colleges explores what actual students from each school have to say about it so you can get an in-depth look at the truth.

There are plenty of lists throughout that will give you rankings for each school, as well as information about the style of the school and what the social scene looks like. Rankings show which schools do best in areas like campus life, facilities, and academics, and all the rankings are based on the individual student responses from those who have attended. There are even ratings on quality of life, how particular the school is on admissions and the type of financial aid that’s offered.

Why Choose This Book:

  • Offers information on the top features of each school
  • Provides insider information on each school

What Makes it Unique:

  • Get an overview of information from the top schools around the country
  • Stats and rankings are easy to read and understand


Runner Up Picks for Best College Guides

If you’re not necessarily looking for the top of the line options, this is where you’re going to want to be. These books are going to provide you with a whole lot of information, and they’re definitely still high quality, but you’re not getting quite as much of the comprehensive information as you would with the others. Still, you’re definitely going to like the variety of information.

Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges by Barron’s College Division Staff

Barron’s is the trusted name for many people to study for A.P. tests and the SAT, but they’re also the name for picking out top colleges. Profiles of American Colleges provides information about over 1,600 colleges, which means you’ll have the basics on most of the options throughout the country. Not only that, but it includes more than just the cursory facts. You’re also going to get charts about programs at each school, financial information such as admission and fees and even campus safety and extracurriculars.

Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges even offers information about American colleges in different countries, Canadian schools and some information about religious schools. Includes are competitiveness scales and also free access to the college search engine and additional online resources. With the online system, you’ll get even more information about a broader range of different schools, including everything you’re going to need to choose one for yourself.

Why Choose This Book:

  • Includes contact information for the school
  • Provides degree requirements and fun activities

What Makes it Unique:

  • Profiles over 1,600 colleges and universities
  • Offers financial information as well as features of the school


The Ultimate Guide to America’s Best Colleges by Gen Tanabe & Kelly Tanabe

With in-depth information of over 300 colleges in America, The Ultimate Guide to America’s Best Colleges offers the practical advice that you actually need when choosing a new school. Instead of only focusing on the specifics of majors and academic issues, The Ultimate Guide also looks at athletics, alumni, admissions, student life and even information that can help you when you’re getting ready to apply to the school of your dreams. It’s filled with quotes, honest descriptions, and even a full section on the good and the bad for each of the schools.

Here, you’ll find information about the popular majors at the school, the deadlines and standardized testing that they use and even stats on class sizes and the student composition. All of this information makes it easier to know which school you want and what you can actually expect when it comes time to make a choice. You’ll also be able to see the top 100 best values for college, information about how to choose a school and even more about how to get the scholarships that you’ll need in order to get into the school.

Why Choose This Book:

  • Honest descriptions about what the school is really like
  • Information on how to get the scholarships offered

What Makes it Unique:

  • Showcases strengths and weaknesses for each school
  • Tips on how to get into the school


Budget Picks on Best College Guides

If you want something good but you don’t want to spend a fortune you’re going to want to take a closer look at each of these books. They’re going to give you the quality you need and some excellent features but at a lower price point. You might sacrifice a little here, but you’re still going to have everything that you need to be successful.

College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School by Steven R. Antonoff, et. al

Choosing the best college is definitely not an easy feat, and far too many people end up at a less-than-stellar school because of costs or location. Instead, College Match helps you figure out which schools are the best ones for you based on the things that you like and what you’re looking for. With College Match, you get a specific set of steps that you can follow to find out more about yourself and to find out more about the different schools that are out there so you can find a way to match them together.

Having a great experience in college depends on a number of factors, but if you’re able to start the process before you even get in, you’re actually going to be even better off. College Match helps students to feel calmer and more comfortable with the decisions that they make related to their school of choice. It also evaluates a number of different schools so that the results are more comprehensive and it’s possible for students to better understand what they have to offer. By working through the different steps, it’s possible to find the best fit for any student.

Why Choose This Book:

  • Focuses on matching the student to a school
  • Follows a precise path to find the right school for the child

What Makes it Unique:

  • Looks at why a student will do well at a particular school
  • Less focus on academic matching and more on other factors


S. News & World Report Best Colleges by U.S. News and World Report

For those who want a little more advice on how to choose the right college for them, Best Colleges, by the U.S. News & World Report, is definitely a great pick. It actually focuses on things like how to wow the admissions personnel and which schools are best for average (or even below-average) students. It looks at how to get in and what the best of the regional, national, and liberal arts colleges are. It looks at top lists for everything, including different programs and different groups of students.

With Best Colleges, you’re going to get a number of lists and articles that will help you better understand what’s out there and just what you could achieve with different schools. If you’re struggling to figure out what school is best for whatever program you want to study, you’re going to want to start here. Best Colleges even gives information about making your college years great, how to get financial aid and a whole lot more. That way, you’re going to have an even better experience in college.

Why Choose This Book:

  • Quality articles and information about the best schools for different categories
  • Rankings of universities and colleges throughout the country

What Makes it Unique:

  • Articles make it easier to pick the school you really want
  • Plenty of information about the best options for every category


Summary of the Best College Guide Books

Putting everything together, in this guide we reviewed the following:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
Fiske Guide to Colleges 2019 $24.99 864
College Handbook 2018 $31.99 2336
The Best 384 Colleges, 2019 Edition $24.99 880
Profiles of American Colleges 2019 $29.99 1568
The Ultimate Guide to America's Best Colleges 2019 $23.99 976
College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You $18.50 196
Best Colleges 2019: Find the Best Colleges for You! $17.95 348

When it comes to choosing the right college or university to attend your child may be feeling a whole lot of pressure. Think about it; the right school can set them up for a highly successful future. The wrong school could make it extremely difficult to even graduate let alone find a job in the field they want once they have. With any of the best college guides for parents or best college guides for students, you or your child will be much better prepared to enjoy their college years, the academic portion as well as the athletics and social aspects. That’s going to set anyone up better for the future.

Looking for more high school study tips? We’ve got a ton more free comprehensive guides here.


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