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GET ACCEPTED TO THE COLLEGE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
Everyone has their own idea of the perfect college, and the best place for you to spend your college years may not be the
GET ACCEPTED TO THE COLLEGE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
Everyone has their own idea of the perfect college, and the best place for you to spend your college years may not be the most academically prestigious or have the best sports teams. Going well beyond just college rankings, the Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College is the help you need to get started that’s been trusted by hundreds of thousands of students, parents, and guidance counselors.
SIMPLIFY AND TAKE THE STRESS OUT OF COLLEGE SEARCH
•Choose the right type of schools for you, including considering the strongest majors, programs, and courses
•Keep everything organized and filter out the marketing hype
•Plan and map your college visits, and ask the right questions during campus tours
•Attract and even negotiate the best financial aid package
This book is a guide not only to who you are, but also to what kinds of schools will be great for you. It starts with an easy but in-depth assessment of your priorities, then takes you step-by-step through the process of applying to the schools that are the best fit for you.
MAKE YOUR APPLICATIONS STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
•Earn the test scores colleges want to see
•Write authentic admissions essays
•Submit an application that shows off your best features
•Know how admissions officers rank candidates
•Get off the waiting list and get accepted to your top schools
GET ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS
Edward B. Fiske served for seventeen years as education editor of the New York Times, during which time he realized that college-bound students and their families needed better information on which to base their educational choices. He writes the #1 bestselling annual Fiske Guide to Colleges to help them.
Bruce G. Hammond has devoted much of his time to counseling for college. He served as managing editor of the Fiske Guide to Colleges and is director of college counseling at Dipont Educational Management.
About the Author
Edward B Fiske
Edward B. Fiske served for 17 years as Education Editor of the New York Times, during which time he realized that college-bound students and their families needed better information on which to base their educational choices. He wrote the bestselling annual, The Fiske Guide to Colleges, to help them.
Bruce G. Hammond
Bruce G. Hammond was editor in chief of The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges and was managing editor of four editions of The Fiske Guide to Colleges. He is the author of Discounts and Deals at the Nation’s 360 Best Colleges and is also the co-author of Fiske Real College Essays That Work and Fiske Countdown to College.
From: 1. The Search Begins
The college advising office in your high school can be a pretty intimidating place, especially on your first visit. An eerie silence pervades the room. As you cross t...
From: 1. The Search Begins
The college advising office in your high school can be a pretty intimidating place, especially on your first visit. An eerie silence pervades the room. As you cross the threshold and survey the scene, your eye catches the twelfth-grade boy who used to flick spitballs into your hair from the back of the bus when you were in middle school. He’s still wearing the same flea-bitten Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, but now his nose is buried in a college guide as he scribbles feverishly in a spiral notebook. On the other side of the room, the girl from down the street with the doting mother and the 4.0 grade point average is staring purposefully into a computer screen, clacking the keyboard every few seconds as she calls up a new file. Suddenly, you get a sinking feeling that she and all the other kids in the room know exactly what they’re doing. You’re the only one who doesn’t have a clue. Of course, you could always ask Mrs. Stonebreaker for help. That is, if you don’t mind the familiar glasses on-the-end-of-the-nose routine and the icy stare that says you’ve just asked the stupidest question of her thirty-four year career. You want to beat a hasty retreat and come back later—much later.
It’s no wonder that beginning college applicants often get the strong urge to run away and hide. Talk about an intimidating situation! Many students have barely gotten comfortable in high school before the college search looms ominously on the horizon. Rumblings about “selective colleges” and “the job market” begin to pop up in dinner conversations and guidance office bulletin boards. Friends who used to be party animals suddenly begin to hit the books and talk about “getting the grades for college.” Relatives you haven’t seen in years marvel about how much you’ve grown—and then want to know all about your career plans. As if those storm clouds weren’t threatening enough, there is the little matter of finding one college out of about twenty-two hundred four-year schools in the nation. They come in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins or Ben and Jerry ever dreamed of making—large, small, middle-sized, rural, urban, and a thousand permutations. If colleges were ice cream, a student could sample four or five flavors and make a choice. Unfortunately, college applicants must get it right the first time or go through the same agony again when they transfer. How can you figure out what sort of college is right for you?
One place you won’t find the answer is your mailbox, which, if you have blackened a certain oval on your PSAT exam, has become a direct pipeline to the propaganda factories of colleges coast to coast. Though the deluge of college mail can be highly entertaining, every school from Harvard to Ho Hum U. advertises a similar bill of goods. If you were confused before, try figuring out the difference between two colleges by reading the glossy viewbooks. The scenes in their pages are always the same: eager hordes of racially diverse undergraduates thinking deep thoughts or frolicking in a perpetual spring against a backdrop of white columns and grassy lawns. Let’s see now…College X offers “academic excellence” and “rich diversity.” On the other hand, College Y offers “rich diversity” and “academic excellence.” Still can’t tell the difference?
Meanwhile, all the adults in your life (and a few you’ve never seen before) offer their two cents about where you should go to school. From your grandfather, you get the latest updates on colleges and the job market from U.S. News & World Report. Mom says that you can choose any school you want—as long as you stay within fifty miles of home. Even your great uncle Pete, whom you barely know, takes you under his wing and says he has the perfect college for you based on his wonderful experience in the early 1960s.
If you’re confused by conflicting advice, if you’re put off by college propaganda, if you’re eager to get started but don’t know where to begin, this book is your ticket to a successful college search. We’ll take you on a guided tour of the entire process: how to find the right college for you, how to get in, and how to pay for it. Along the way, we’ll help you focus your thoughts and figure out what you’re really looking for. We’ll tell you how to cut through the college search nonsense and then give you insider sketches of hundreds of colleges in dozens of categories. We’ll reveal the secrets of the highly selective admissions game and how you can play it to win. And finally, we’ll delve into the shadowy world of college financial aid—how to get your hands on it and how your need for it may affect your chances for admission.
Before we begin plotting strategy, let’s step back for a minute and remind ourselves of what the college search is all about. Amid all the anxiety about getting in, it helps to keep the big picture in mind.
That may seem like a stupid question, but there is more to the answer than meets the eye. Practicality says that people go to college to get a good job after graduation and there is plenty of research to show that college is a sound economic investment. On average, college graduates can expect to earn more than twice as much as those with a high school diploma over a working lifetime and the gap is widening.
There are two schools of thought about how to get the most out of your college experience. Many educators stress the value of exposure to a broad spectrum of human knowledge. The phrase “liberal arts education” connotes learning that “liberates” the mind to think new thoughts. A liberal arts education is an introduction to the great events and ideas of the past, as well as the most recent discoveries of today. It can include history, art, astronomy, zoology, and everything in between. It doesn’t prepare you for any particular job, but instead equips you with the basic skills—reading, writing, thinking—to meet any challenge that comes down the pike. In other words, it means “learning to learn.”
The alternative to a liberal arts education is to use college to prepare for a particular career. This approach places less emphasis on a well-rounded general education than the acquisition of knowledge related to a particular job or subset of jobs. Some careers, such as engineering and architecture, require concentrated training beginning in the freshman year that leaves little time for smelling the roses. Facing the uncertainties of the job market, nervous undergraduates often feel strong pressure to “major in something practical.”
Nearly as important as what you study in the classroom will be the things you do outside of class. In recent years, the possibilities have multiplied dramatically. Study abroad once meant a handful of students doing a semester in Europe. Today, opportunities are available to the distant corners of the globe, during both the academic year and the summer. Internships, which will allow you to sample the world of work while in college, are also more plentiful than ever before. Traditional extracurriculars such as newspaper or community service also provide outlets for hands-on learning.
In addition to the many opportunities it provides, college attendance also provides a high school graduate with the first public measure of his or her academic and personal success. Admission to a “name” college is like getting an A in growing up and comes with the presumption of future success to follow. The ego of anyone—especially an eighteen-year-old—is fragile. Who wouldn’t want a stamp of approval from one of the world’s most respected institutions?
Length: 9 in
Width: 6 in
Weight: 20.64 oz
Page Count: 368 pages