The Best 379 Colleges, 2015 Edition (College Admissions Guides)

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  • A worthwhile start for total newcomers to the college search
  • Overlooks several schools that are frequently mentioned as “best” elsewhere
  • Best used in conjunction with other materials that provide more detailed information on each campus

As far as dumbbell-heavy college search books go, Princeton Review’s Best 379 Colleges is practically Biblical. But don’t take its content as scripture. Although theoretically exhaustive in its scope, Best 379 skims over a surprising number of campuses largely considered to be “best.” Using this book exclusively, unwitting students and their parents could potentially pass over ideal colleges very much worth their application fee.

Best 379 wins in its nuanced and well-researched analysis of how each featured college qualifies in the listing. The authors employ academic evaluations and detailed surveys from current students two produce colorful two-page profile on each campus.

They also claim to strike a geographical balance between the listed schools, an effort that contradicts a bias toward schools on the coasts and away from the central states. And even with the leaning toward campuses in such states as California and New York, Best 379 doesn’t cover SUNY Buffalo, UC Irvine, and other universities that regularly make top-100 lists elsewhere.

Parents and applicants on day one of their college search will relish this admittedly comprehensive volume that doubles as an impressive paperweight. But Best 379 doesn’t offer the expansive, no-stone-unturned approach available in other college search titles.