Books & Guides

The Summit Country Day School College Counseling Office has prepared a quick reference guide on books often used during a college search. Most of these books are available through  local bookstores, libraries or online booksellers. Many selections are also available for your review in The Summit's College Counseling Office.

College Profile Books sampleObjective College Profile Books:

The college profile books offer you the basic facts about colleges, number of students, majors, admission data, housing information, cost, addresses, etc. A number of publishers put them out, and they all have similar data. Two examples include are College Board College Handbook and Peterson’s Four Year Colleges.

Subjective College Profile Books:

College Profile Books collageThe subjective college profile books are a bit more controversial, because as the name implies, they are subjective. However, you may find them useful. Usually based on questionnaires distributed to students, professors, administrators and deans, the profiles in these books are an attempt to characterize the aspects of college that cannot be quantified: social atmosphere, academic pressure and competition, quality of housing, food attitudes of students and faculty, etc. If you use these books, make sure to read a number of them. Do not take one books’ word for it! Some examples include: The Fiske Guide to Colleges, Insider’s Guide to Colleges, Colleges That Change Lives, The Best 377 Colleges, Ruggs Recommendations andAmerica's Best Colleges (US News & World Report).


College Admission Books cover collageCollege guidebooks are available to help students and parents understand the entire college search and selection process. These resources have been quite useful to many families. Some recommended titles include: College Admission by Robin Mamlet; Colleges Unranked by Lloyd Thacker; I’m Going to College – Not You! by Jennifer Delahunty; Letting Go by Karen Coburn and Madge Theeger; and Crazy U by Andrew Ferguson.

Specialized Guides:

Among the many specialized guide books to colleges are these examples: Colleges with Programs for Students with Learning Disabilities or ADD by Peterson; K & W Guide to Colleges for the Learning Disabled by Kravets and Wax; African American Student’s College Guide; and 
America’s Black Colleges: the Comprehensive Guide to Historically and Predominately Black 4 Year Colleges and Universities by J. Wilson Bowman. Browse bookstores and booklists to find out about specialty books that may fit your situation or consult with a Summit college counselor.

Summit College Counseling Reader's Guide: College Search Books

Title Author Description
The College Solution
Guide for Right School at Right Price
O'Shaughnessy Great for finding the right fit at the right cost!
What High Schools Don't Tell You Wissner-Gross Strategies for admission to highly selective colleges.
The College Hook Proctor Hints on how your student can differentiate themselves.
Running of the Bulls Ridgway Describes five Wharton undergrads' experiences.
Getting In! Zinch Guide to College Admiss and Fin Aid Cohen Practical information on getting into selective colleges.
Paying for College without Going Broke Chany  Up-to-date info on financial aid; easy to read, with tips.
Best Buys in College Education Barrons Getting the most for your money.
Winning the Admissions Game Van Buskirk Advice to parents and to students. Highly recommended
Fat Envelope Frenzy Jager-Hyman Follows 5 seniors from September to May through applications.
The Financial Aid Handbook Stack Former financial aid officers describes merit awards, aid.
The New Rules of College Admissions Kramer Former admissions officers reveal how to get in to colleges.
Shrinking the Cost of College O'Shaughnessy Easy-to-read workbook with great examples and info.
Overachievers Robbins High-end, stressed kids trying for the top.
The Gatekeepers
Inside the Admissions Process
Steinberg How Wesleyan University determines acceptances.
Reflections on 100,000 Admissions
at Stanford
Fetter Ex-admission's officer talks about her previous job.
A is for Admissions Hernandez  Former admissions officer at Dartmouth.
Admissions Confidential Toor Duke's admission officer feedback.
Getting In Cohen Written by a high-priced college admissions counselor.
The Select Greene Realities of life and learning in America's elite colleges.
A Parent's Guide to College Admissions Kaplan Logical approach to college admissions.
Harvard Schmarvard Mathews  The ins and outs of going to Harvard.
Campus Visits and College Interviews College Board Describes how you should visit colleges.
Acing the College Application Hernandez  Advice from a former Dartmouth admissions officer.
Go to College Almost for Free Kaplan Logical strategies for finding outside scholarships.
Scholarship Scouting Report Kaplan Insider's guide to the best scholarships.
Privilege Douthat Harvard alum writes about his time at Harvard.
The Price of Admission Golden How the ruling class buys its way into elite colleges.
Pledged Robbins College life in a sorority, written by undercover writer.
Debt-Free U Bissonnette How to pay for college without loans or scholarships.


College websites can give you a visual image of the campus and general student body. It seems that in photographs and promotional videos, every day is sunny and every student is smiling. However, these are often useful tools to get an idea of what the campus looks like.