Favorite College & Scholarship Guides and Test Prep Books

Whether you’re researching colleges and universities, preparing for the ACT or SAT, searching for scholarships, or trying to demystify the college admissions process, there are numerous guide books to help meet your needs.
Given the large number of resources to choose from, parents and students often ask for a few suggestions. As an independent college consultant, I have pored over numerous college guides and test prep books, many of which I consider to be excellent resources. Deciding which books to recommend first, comes down to personal taste.
For those looking for a comprehensive college guide that is easy to read and digest, consider the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, 27E. A leading resource for more than 20 years, Fiske profiles more than 350 colleges and universities capturing the highlights and character of each school in a hip and concise manner.
The College Finder: Choose the School That’s Right for You! by Steven Antonoff, is another favorite. While I don’t suggest it as your primary resource, this helpful guide ranks colleges and universities on a plethora of dimensions including admissions, academics, education quality, social life, athletics, religion, majors, enrollment, student-faculty ratio, student aid and cost. This information can open your eyes to schools you might not otherwise know.
For those getting started, and lacking clear direction, College Match: A Blueprint for Choosing the Best School for You, another Steven Antonoff classic, can be extremely helpful.  It provides a strong framework for figuring out which college attributes are important to you.  The book contains various exercises to help you understand the types of schools for which you are best suited.
The Book of Majors 2010 (College Board Book of Majors) from the College Board is a comprehensive guide to academic programs, with in-depth descriptions of hundreds of popular college majors. This book can help you identify majors of potential interest, find out which colleges offer various courses of study and explore career opportunities following graduation.
There are several test prep books for the ACT.  The Real ACT Prep Guide: The Only Official Prep Guide From The Makers Of The ACT contains questions from the ACT organization along with answers and detailed explanations. For those looking for more practice, another good resource is McGraw-Hill’s 10 ACT Practice Tests, Second Edition (McGraw-Hill’s 10 Practice Acts)
For SAT preparation, I recommend The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition Board along with Cracking the SAT, 2010 Edition (College Test Preparation) from The Princeton Review.
Many families are focused on scholarship opportunities.  Tanabe’s The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2010: Billions of Dollars in Scholarships, Grants and Prizes and Scholarship Handbook 2010 (College Board Scholarship Handbook) provide comprehensive leads and advice.
For more book ideas, check out InLikeMe’s College Guidebook Recommendations and Books for the College Bound (InlikeMe & Amazon).
Lynn Radlauer Lubell (lynn@admissionbydesign.com) is an Independent Educational Consultant, based in Boca Raton, and the Publisher of InlikeMe.com.  She provides assistance with the college process, applications and essays.