Common Application- The Common App is the application of choice for 241 public and private colleges in the United States. This excellent web site allows students to access information on colleges, to download many application supplements, and to complete the Common Application online.
The College Board- The College Board is the parent organization of the SAT, PSAT, PROFILE, and many other college admissions-related programs. Its web site contains financial aid information, a college search, test dates, practice SAT questions and much more. It is one of the best resources on the net, and it is particularly helpful when students register to take the SAT I or SAT IIs, as well as when they send scores to colleges. Also, students who receive extended time or other testing accommodations will find this site useful.
The American College Testing Program
- The vast majority of colleges give equal weight to ACT scores and their SAT counterparts. In fact, many now accept the ACT in lieu of the SAT I and three SAT IIs. This site provides helpful information regarding ACT programs, as well as the opportunities to register for a test and send scores online.
College Guides and Handbooks
The Fiske Guide to Colleges
Edward B. Fiske, Random House
Edward Fiske was the first, and maybe still the best, editor of college guide books. His annual guide provides excellent, detailed profiles of most of the best colleges in America.
The College Handbook
The College Board
This guide contains helpful data on American two- and four-year colleges and universities. It is a good source for statistical information, deadlines and other information. The data in this guide book is updated annually, and its information is also in a searchable form at The College Board's web site, described below.
Colleges That Change Lives
Loren Pope, Penguin Books
Loren Pope is on a crusade for America's small, distinctive colleges. His disapproval of Ivy League institutions is a little heavy-handed and not always believable, but he does an excellent job of showing many liberal arts college as appropriate options for students. Also, he centers the reader on valuable questions to ask admission officers. Remember, however, that these are not the only forty colleges that can "change lives." His book is currently in its second edition, and annual college fairs are now held across the country by the schools that he profiles.
Letting Go - A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years
Karen Levin Coburn & Madge Lawrence Treeger, Harper Perennial
How involved should parents be in the college search process? This is a favorite of many college counselors who work closely with parents and students alike. It addresses issues of transition and separation as well as giving helpful advice regarding the college search and application process.
K&W Guide to Colleges for the Learning Disabled
Marybeth Kravets & Imy Wax, Princeton Review
Almost all schools have special services for students with learning disabilities, but how do you differentiate between them? This book provides information on a large number of schools.
College Rankings Exposed
Paul Boyer, Peterson's
Finally, a book that addresses head-on the damage to the college search process caused by rankings such as those published by US News & World Report. College rankings offer an enticing, but simplistic and misguided, means to select a college. Boyer draws our attention to the fact that there is not "one best college" for everyone; but that the focus should be on the match for each student.
The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College
Jacques Steinberg, Penguin
This was perhaps the most talked about book on college admissions in 2003. Jacques Steinberg, a writer for the New York Times, traces the journeys of six applicants to Wesleyan University from the time they first meet an admissions officer through their ultimate acceptance or rejection. Steinberg's writing is very readable and his treatment of the issues is fair. Remember, however, that Wesleyan is among the most selective colleges in America; these are not the stories of the "average" college applicant.
Parent's Guide to College Admissions
Marjorie Niewenhuis, Simon & Schuster
Written by the college counselor at the United Nations International School, this book answers many questions for parents and students. It is an excellent, well-written and interesting resource.
10 Real SATs
The College Board
This book includes 10 actual SAT exams. It is an excellent resource for students who want to take real practice tests. Remember, SAT tests are the property of The College Board, so any other practice tests that you can buy are merely approximations of SAT tests.
Cracking the SAT
Adam Robinson and John Katzman, The Princeton Review
This book contains much of the information taught to students in The Princeton Review's regular, and very expensive, SAT prep courses. While Calhoun's Director of College Counseling doesn't endorse any one test prep firm, The Princeton Review expends a great deal of energy and resources to help students prepare for the SAT and other standardized tests. The book also includes a CD-Rom that has good practice tests, though be cognizant that the most authentic practice tests come from The College Board itself in 10 Real SATs.
Kaplan SAT and PSAT
Like Cracking the SAT above, this book provides much of the information provided in Kaplan's regular SAT prep courses. Again, the Director of College Counseling does not recommend any one test prep firm, but Kaplan tends to be among the most reputable companies in the business. It also comes with a CD-Rom that has good, though not actual, practice tests.