College Prep

Janet Clapp
BOOKS CHECKED OUT

It’s college application time. For high school seniors, the deadlines are fast approaching. For younger students or older people who are looking into college after a hiatus from school, there is more time to explore, but it is not too early to start the college search process. Here are some books to help you during this exciting and sometimes daunting time.

Fiske Guide to Colleges
by Edward B. Fiske
Over 300 colleges and universities are described, each in a few pages that include quotes from current students. Sidebars show statistics of enrollment, acceptance rate, percentage of students who graduate in six years, returning freshmen, and ratings for academics, social life and quality of life. Schools are indexed by location, price and average debt. There is a list of colleges strong in preprofessional degree programs (architecture, art, business, communications, engineering, film, dance, drama and music) and a list of schools that offer strong support for students with learning disabilities.

Peterson’s Four-Year Colleges
Peterson’s Two-Year Colleges
Both provide facts about numerous colleges and universities. The books show student/faculty ratio, unusual degree programs, housing options, activities and organizations, student services, costs and financial aid, application information, and more. Both books give an overview of the admissions and financial aid processes. Listing over 1,900 schools, the two-year guide includes information about transferring and returning to school as an adult student. The four-year guide covers over 2,900 schools and contains sections about honors programs, women’s colleges, and distance education.

College Handbook
by The College Board
Like the titles above, college profiles constitute the bulk of this book. Most profiles include statistics of the freshman class showing the number of applicants and the number admitted, the number enrolled, grade-point average (GPA), class rank and test scores of admitted students, as well as the percentage of out-of-state students and the percentage that live on campus. Schools are indexed by college type (liberal arts, culinary, military, technical and career, et cetera), special characteristics (religious affiliation, historically black, Hispanic serving, tribal), enrollment size, admission policies (no closing dates, SAT requirements), ROTC and NCAA sports.

The Other College Guide: A Road Map to the Right School for You
by Jane Sweetland, Paul Glastris, and the staff of the Washington Monthly
Unlike the college guides listed above, this book is more general, explaining how to find a college that suits the student, the application process, and the financial aid process. There are chapters on the first year of school and employment after graduation. The book ranks “best community colleges,” “affordable elite colleges,” and “best-bang-for-the buck colleges.”

SAT 2017 Strategies, Practice & Review
by Kaplan
The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is one of the entrance exams required by many colleges. Offering strategies, tips and sample problems, this book helps with preparation for the SAT. A chapter about the SAT essay (now optional) offers information on whether students should take the essay or not, and suggests a method for writing it in the fifty minutes available during the exam itself. There is a practice test with answers, difficulty ratings and explanations.

The College Application Essay
by Sarah Myers McGinty
College admissions officers place a heavy emphasis on the application essay, which is used to learn about the prospective student and whether or not that person is a good fit for the institution to which he or she is applying. McGinty outlines a writing process from pre-writing to editing and gives sample essays to help applicants.

College price tags can appear prohibitive, but there are sources of funding available to lower the cost. The titles below reveal how and where to obtain money to help pay for higher education.

Peterson’s Scholarships, Grants & Prizes.
After suggestions on how to find money, this book describes over 3,900 awards. Details include eligibility and application requirements. Prizes are indexed by sponsor, academic fields, affiliations (civic, professional, corporate, union, social), employment/volunteer experience, impairment, location of study, military service, nationality or ethnic heritage, religious affiliation, residence (twenty-eight listed for Vermont residents), and talent or interest area.

Scholarship Handbook
by The College Board
Beginning with an explanation of financial aid and how to apply for scholarships, this book describes funding programs including internships and loans. Most of the indexes in Peterson’s are found here as well, but this book also indexes by gender, returning adult, and study abroad.

The Ultimate Scholarship Book
by Gene and Kelly Tanabe
Like the two guides above, the bulk of this book is the list of scholarships, with their eligibility and application information. The authors debunk common myths — like only honor students or super athletes can earn scholarships. They provide sample winning essays and discuss where to find scholarships, how to avoid scams, how to get good letters of recommendation, and how to do well in the scholarship interview. Beyond the usual indexes for sponsors, academic field, et cetera, there are indexes of interests and hobbies (like animals, ballet, or scouting) and special circumstances, such as being a first-generation college student or in foster care.

In addition to the books mentioned above, the Rutland Free Library offers LearningExpress, an online tool with SAT, ACT, PSAT, and AP exam tutorials and practice tests. All you need to register to use LearningExpress is your library card.

Good luck future college students!

Janet Clapp

Janet Clapp is an adult services librarian at Rutland Free Library.

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