Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, what is ed the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority, approved ” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, what is ed the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority, approved ” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, cheapest the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority,” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, what is ed the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority, approved ” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, cheapest the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority,” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.
The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College gives step-by-step advice on every aspect of the college search. It also offers advice on how to write a winning college essay, including what not to do:

Trite phrases.
Most admissions officers are near nausea with applicants who “want to help people.” Think of something that is unique about you.

Slickness.
An essay that reads as if it has been churned out by Dad’s public-relations firm will not impress. Let the real you shine through.

Cynicism.
Colleges want bright, active people-not wet blankets. A positive approach to life, and to the essay, will score points.

Life histories.
Make sure your essay has a point. An endless stream of phrases like “then I did this, and then I did this” is sleep-inducing and doesn’t say anything meaningful.

Essay that goes on forever.
More is not better. The colleges want a concise, well-reasoned essay-not the sequel to War and Peace. Try not to exceed the amount of space allotted for each essay.

The thesaurus syndrome.
Don’t overutilize ostentatiously pretentious language to delineate the thematic observations you are endeavoring to articulate. Big words aren’t impressive; a clear, direct style is.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, what is ed the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority, approved ” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, cheapest the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority,” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.
The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College gives step-by-step advice on every aspect of the college search. It also offers advice on how to write a winning college essay, including what not to do:

Trite phrases.
Most admissions officers are near nausea with applicants who “want to help people.” Think of something that is unique about you.

Slickness.
An essay that reads as if it has been churned out by Dad’s public-relations firm will not impress. Let the real you shine through.

Cynicism.
Colleges want bright, active people-not wet blankets. A positive approach to life, and to the essay, will score points.

Life histories.
Make sure your essay has a point. An endless stream of phrases like “then I did this, and then I did this” is sleep-inducing and doesn’t say anything meaningful.

Essay that goes on forever.
More is not better. The colleges want a concise, well-reasoned essay-not the sequel to War and Peace. Try not to exceed the amount of space allotted for each essay.

The thesaurus syndrome.
Don’t overutilize ostentatiously pretentious language to delineate the thematic observations you are endeavoring to articulate. Big words aren’t impressive; a clear, direct style is.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, what is ed the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority, approved ” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, cheapest the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority,” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.
The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College gives step-by-step advice on every aspect of the college search. It also offers advice on how to write a winning college essay, including what not to do:

Trite phrases.
Most admissions officers are near nausea with applicants who “want to help people.” Think of something that is unique about you.

Slickness.
An essay that reads as if it has been churned out by Dad’s public-relations firm will not impress. Let the real you shine through.

Cynicism.
Colleges want bright, active people-not wet blankets. A positive approach to life, and to the essay, will score points.

Life histories.
Make sure your essay has a point. An endless stream of phrases like “then I did this, and then I did this” is sleep-inducing and doesn’t say anything meaningful.

Essay that goes on forever.
More is not better. The colleges want a concise, well-reasoned essay-not the sequel to War and Peace. Try not to exceed the amount of space allotted for each essay.

The thesaurus syndrome.
Don’t overutilize ostentatiously pretentious language to delineate the thematic observations you are endeavoring to articulate. Big words aren’t impressive; a clear, direct style is.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, what is ed the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority, approved ” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, cheapest the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority,” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.
The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College gives step-by-step advice on every aspect of the college search. It also offers advice on how to write a winning college essay, including what not to do:

Trite phrases.
Most admissions officers are near nausea with applicants who “want to help people.” Think of something that is unique about you.

Slickness.
An essay that reads as if it has been churned out by Dad’s public-relations firm will not impress. Let the real you shine through.

Cynicism.
Colleges want bright, active people-not wet blankets. A positive approach to life, and to the essay, will score points.

Life histories.
Make sure your essay has a point. An endless stream of phrases like “then I did this, and then I did this” is sleep-inducing and doesn’t say anything meaningful.

Essay that goes on forever.
More is not better. The colleges want a concise, well-reasoned essay-not the sequel to War and Peace. Try not to exceed the amount of space allotted for each essay.

The thesaurus syndrome.
Don’t overutilize ostentatiously pretentious language to delineate the thematic observations you are endeavoring to articulate. Big words aren’t impressive; a clear, direct style is.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, what is ed the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority, approved ” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, cheapest the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority,” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.
The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College gives step-by-step advice on every aspect of the college search. It also offers advice on how to write a winning college essay, including what not to do:

Trite phrases.
Most admissions officers are near nausea with applicants who “want to help people.” Think of something that is unique about you.

Slickness.
An essay that reads as if it has been churned out by Dad’s public-relations firm will not impress. Let the real you shine through.

Cynicism.
Colleges want bright, active people-not wet blankets. A positive approach to life, and to the essay, will score points.

Life histories.
Make sure your essay has a point. An endless stream of phrases like “then I did this, and then I did this” is sleep-inducing and doesn’t say anything meaningful.

Essay that goes on forever.
More is not better. The colleges want a concise, well-reasoned essay-not the sequel to War and Peace. Try not to exceed the amount of space allotted for each essay.

The thesaurus syndrome.
Don’t overutilize ostentatiously pretentious language to delineate the thematic observations you are endeavoring to articulate. Big words aren’t impressive; a clear, direct style is.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
Many people assume that an adult standing in the front of the room, case
with students listening attentively, will automatically raise scores. But studies among college students have shown that those who listen to a lecture learn no more than those who get a transcript of what was said. That bodes ill for national test prep companies because many instructors are recent college graduates who rely heavily on company books. “What was taught in the classroom was the exact same thing printed in the Kaplan book I bought from the bookstore,” complains a 740 V, 690 M scorer. Another student who prepped at a local firm and scored 610 V, 690 M writes, “It seemed that the instructors became talking books. Everything they told us I had already read…. The instructors often didn’t know the answers to questions outside our homework.”

Despite the subjectivity involved, we wanted to know about students’ perceptions of whether coaching increased their scores. The survey gave students a choice of five responses to how much they thought their composite score increased: None; 50 points or less; 60–100 points; 110–150 points; or 160+ points. The most common response was 60–100 points, followed by 50 points or less. Together, these two responses formed a solid majority across all score intervals and all test prep companies. Lesser and approximately equal numbers of students believed that their score went up not at all, or 110–150 points, and a smaller fraction believed that its scores had gone up 160 points or more. There was only one systematic difference in the responses. Those who scored lower than 1100 were less likely to believe that their score had jumped more than 100 points.

Of the students who thought that their prep course was worthwhile, few cited test-taking strategies or the insight of the instructor as the reason why it was useful. The most commonly cited benefit was access to practice tests; a close second was having someone on the scene to make sure they got done. “The course itself did not provide many helpful hints but did force me to take practice tests,” says a 600 V, 600 M scorer. “My tutor made me do the work on the tests,” admits another student who scored 690 V, 710 M. “If he hadn’t forced me to do it, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Many students tended to be forgiving when coaching courses failed to deliver the promised score increases. “I learned a lot of great strategies but did not improve my score by the 100 points that were guaranteed,” said a 650 V, 550 M Princeton Review student of her prep course. “I would still recommend it to other students because I know that it can be very helpful for many students.”

“I only increased 10 points,” wrote a 540 V, 560 M Princeton Review prepper who elsewhere noted, “I would recommend this course. It was very helpful learning the tips on how to take the SATs.” Another Princeton Review student with a combined score of 550 V, 630 M had an interesting hypothesis about score increases: “Each time I took a practice test my score improved. I think the tests they gave got easier, because my real SAT score was a lot lower than my final practice score.” One 640 V, 590 M scorer was perturbed by what she perceived as Princeton Review’s lack of follow-through. “Princeton Review did not keep its word about private tutoring if I didn’t go up 100 points from my first practice test. I had to find a tutor on my own.” (Princeton Review’s guarantee for private tutoring is the same as for its classroom courses.)

Source: Fiske Nailing the New SAT.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, what is ed the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority, approved ” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, cheapest the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority,” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.
The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College gives step-by-step advice on every aspect of the college search. It also offers advice on how to write a winning college essay, including what not to do:

Trite phrases.
Most admissions officers are near nausea with applicants who “want to help people.” Think of something that is unique about you.

Slickness.
An essay that reads as if it has been churned out by Dad’s public-relations firm will not impress. Let the real you shine through.

Cynicism.
Colleges want bright, active people-not wet blankets. A positive approach to life, and to the essay, will score points.

Life histories.
Make sure your essay has a point. An endless stream of phrases like “then I did this, and then I did this” is sleep-inducing and doesn’t say anything meaningful.

Essay that goes on forever.
More is not better. The colleges want a concise, well-reasoned essay-not the sequel to War and Peace. Try not to exceed the amount of space allotted for each essay.

The thesaurus syndrome.
Don’t overutilize ostentatiously pretentious language to delineate the thematic observations you are endeavoring to articulate. Big words aren’t impressive; a clear, direct style is.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
Many people assume that an adult standing in the front of the room, case
with students listening attentively, will automatically raise scores. But studies among college students have shown that those who listen to a lecture learn no more than those who get a transcript of what was said. That bodes ill for national test prep companies because many instructors are recent college graduates who rely heavily on company books. “What was taught in the classroom was the exact same thing printed in the Kaplan book I bought from the bookstore,” complains a 740 V, 690 M scorer. Another student who prepped at a local firm and scored 610 V, 690 M writes, “It seemed that the instructors became talking books. Everything they told us I had already read…. The instructors often didn’t know the answers to questions outside our homework.”

Despite the subjectivity involved, we wanted to know about students’ perceptions of whether coaching increased their scores. The survey gave students a choice of five responses to how much they thought their composite score increased: None; 50 points or less; 60–100 points; 110–150 points; or 160+ points. The most common response was 60–100 points, followed by 50 points or less. Together, these two responses formed a solid majority across all score intervals and all test prep companies. Lesser and approximately equal numbers of students believed that their score went up not at all, or 110–150 points, and a smaller fraction believed that its scores had gone up 160 points or more. There was only one systematic difference in the responses. Those who scored lower than 1100 were less likely to believe that their score had jumped more than 100 points.

Of the students who thought that their prep course was worthwhile, few cited test-taking strategies or the insight of the instructor as the reason why it was useful. The most commonly cited benefit was access to practice tests; a close second was having someone on the scene to make sure they got done. “The course itself did not provide many helpful hints but did force me to take practice tests,” says a 600 V, 600 M scorer. “My tutor made me do the work on the tests,” admits another student who scored 690 V, 710 M. “If he hadn’t forced me to do it, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Many students tended to be forgiving when coaching courses failed to deliver the promised score increases. “I learned a lot of great strategies but did not improve my score by the 100 points that were guaranteed,” said a 650 V, 550 M Princeton Review student of her prep course. “I would still recommend it to other students because I know that it can be very helpful for many students.”

“I only increased 10 points,” wrote a 540 V, 560 M Princeton Review prepper who elsewhere noted, “I would recommend this course. It was very helpful learning the tips on how to take the SATs.” Another Princeton Review student with a combined score of 550 V, 630 M had an interesting hypothesis about score increases: “Each time I took a practice test my score improved. I think the tests they gave got easier, because my real SAT score was a lot lower than my final practice score.” One 640 V, 590 M scorer was perturbed by what she perceived as Princeton Review’s lack of follow-through. “Princeton Review did not keep its word about private tutoring if I didn’t go up 100 points from my first practice test. I had to find a tutor on my own.” (Princeton Review’s guarantee for private tutoring is the same as for its classroom courses.)

Source: Fiske Nailing the New SAT.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
Many people assume that an adult standing in the front of the room, case
with students listening attentively, will automatically raise scores. But studies among college students have shown that those who listen to a lecture learn no more than those who get a transcript of what was said. That bodes ill for national test prep companies because many instructors are recent college graduates who rely heavily on company books. “What was taught in the classroom was the exact same thing printed in the Kaplan book I bought from the bookstore,” complains a 740 V, 690 M scorer. Another student who prepped at a local firm and scored 610 V, 690 M writes, “It seemed that the instructors became talking books. Everything they told us I had already read…. The instructors often didn’t know the answers to questions outside our homework.”

Despite the subjectivity involved, we wanted to know about students’ perceptions of whether coaching increased their scores. The survey gave students a choice of five responses to how much they thought their composite score increased: None; 50 points or less; 60–100 points; 110–150 points; or 160+ points. The most common response was 60–100 points, followed by 50 points or less. Together, these two responses formed a solid majority across all score intervals and all test prep companies. Lesser and approximately equal numbers of students believed that their score went up not at all, or 110–150 points, and a smaller fraction believed that its scores had gone up 160 points or more. There was only one systematic difference in the responses. Those who scored lower than 1100 were less likely to believe that their score had jumped more than 100 points.

Of the students who thought that their prep course was worthwhile, few cited test-taking strategies or the insight of the instructor as the reason why it was useful. The most commonly cited benefit was access to practice tests; a close second was having someone on the scene to make sure they got done. “The course itself did not provide many helpful hints but did force me to take practice tests,” says a 600 V, 600 M scorer. “My tutor made me do the work on the tests,” admits another student who scored 690 V, 710 M. “If he hadn’t forced me to do it, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Many students tended to be forgiving when coaching courses failed to deliver the promised score increases. “I learned a lot of great strategies but did not improve my score by the 100 points that were guaranteed,” said a 650 V, 550 M Princeton Review student of her prep course. “I would still recommend it to other students because I know that it can be very helpful for many students.”

“I only increased 10 points,” wrote a 540 V, 560 M Princeton Review prepper who elsewhere noted, “I would recommend this course. It was very helpful learning the tips on how to take the SATs.” Another Princeton Review student with a combined score of 550 V, 630 M had an interesting hypothesis about score increases: “Each time I took a practice test my score improved. I think the tests they gave got easier, because my real SAT score was a lot lower than my final practice score.” One 640 V, 590 M scorer was perturbed by what she perceived as Princeton Review’s lack of follow-through. “Princeton Review did not keep its word about private tutoring if I didn’t go up 100 points from my first practice test. I had to find a tutor on my own.” (Princeton Review’s guarantee for private tutoring is the same as for its classroom courses.)

Source: Fiske Nailing the New SAT.
A majority of the students in our survey who paid for SAT coaching said that the idea came from mom and dad. That’s understandable—parents are the ones who pay the bill. But our questionnaires found numerous instances when over-stressed parents crammed a cram course down the throat of an unwilling student. One my-mom-made-me-do-it prepper describes his course as “a waste of time and money, sovaldi sale ” adding that “what helped was sitting down by myself and becoming comfortable with the format.” He scored 700 V and 730 M.

Another student says his math tutoring was “worthless” and that he reacted negatively “because it was not my choice.” His scores were 760 V, 690 M and he advises students to take practice tests and prepare on their own. Yet another student was prodded by his parents to get tutoring in math after he scored “only” 640 the first time. “It was boring and I wasn’t told anything I didn’t already know. I’m just glad my parents paid for it, not me,” he tells us. And his math score the second time? 640 again. Asked about the benefits of her prep course, another student who scored 520 V and 630 M replied: “It pleased my parents.” Were the benefits worth the cost? “NO!”

Source: Fiske Nailing the New SAT.
Confused about where to begin your search? The Fiske One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, order you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, look stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
These are the places that ooze prestige from every crack and crevice of their ivy-covered walls. If you want to scale these lofty heights, cost you’d better come armed with an impeccable transcript, viagra approved stratospheric scores, and/or championship-level talent in one or more extracurricular areas. The main dilemma: Do you prefer a liberal arts college offering small classes, close interaction with faculty, and a better chance to be involved in the extracurricular life of the community? Or do you want a comprehensive university with world-class facilities and a world-class name?…

No matter what your aspirations, you’ll find outstanding opportunities at both types of institutions.

Brown University. A charter member of the hot college club … Flooded with applicants seeking Ivy education without all the stress … Has toughened requirements but still fighting “soft” image … Bashed by conservatives as hotbed of political correctness.

University of Pennsylvania. Prototypical urban university with an emphasis on practical education that dates back to founder Ben Franklin … The most pre-professional of the Ivy League schools, including the only undergraduate business school … School spirit and Greek life make Penn more lively than other Ivies … Still confused with Penn State after 250 years.

Swarthmore College. Pound for pound, the most intellectual school in the nation … Nonplused by the demise of its long-struggling football program … Closeness of student-faculty relations among the best in the nation … Likely to overwhelm all but the most committed scholars.
Anyone who purports to name the best college bargains begins on shaky ground. Every student has different needs and interests. What looks like a bargain to one person may be too expensive at any price for the next. Furthermore, order because high-cost colleges frequently offer extensive financial aid, ed institutions that charge a higher sticker price can still turn out to be bargains for students who get scholarships based on merit or need.

With those caveats, check we offer several lists to cover our picks for the best bargains in American higher education. Most of the institutions in this section are publicly-supported. For in-staters, these schools typically cost a third to a half as much as their private counterparts. For out-of-state students, the bill usually totals about two thirds the cost of a private institution. Colleges and universities listed in The Budget Ivy League enroll more than 5,000 students, while Small-College Bargains include those that enroll under 5,000.

State University of New York/Binghamton. The best public university in the Northeast … Not as well known as UVA or Michigan because it has no big-time sports … Superb in the liberal arts as well as pre-professional areas … Weathered New York State budget cuts the sensible way: by downsizing and becoming more selective.

University of Minnesota/Morris. If you’ve ever taken a wrong turn on the way to Duluth, you might have stumbled upon one of the best public liberal arts colleges in the country … Morris combines superb students, small classes, dedicated faculty, and an isolated prairie location.

Miami University (OH). Ohio’s version of a public honors university … Beautiful campus evokes private-university atmosphere … Well-known business school sets the tone of campus … Known as the “mother of fraternities” because several began here … A bastion of Midwestern conservatism.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Confused about where to begin your search? The One-Hour College Finder is a quick and easy map to the college universe. The Finder offers an introduction to the nation’s best and most interesting schools in handy lists and bulleted descriptions.

Below is a list of categories covered in the One-Hour College Finder. Click on the highlighted categories to read sample entries.

  • The Elite
  • Rising Stars
  • Top Colleges, buy more about Better Odds
  • The Best Bargains
  • Public Universities: Honors Programs and Residential Colleges
  • More Excellent Small Colleges
  • More Well-Known Universities
  • The Best-Kept Secrets
  • Top Women’s Colleges
  • Top Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • The Roman Catholic World
  • Top Conservative Colleges
  • Top Nonconformist Colleges
  • The Most Innovative Curriculums
  • Environmental Studies and International Studies: The Hottest Interdisciplinary Majors
  • Study-Abroad Programs
  • Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities
  • For Pre-Professionals Only

No flashy window decals in this category. Though the colleges listed here are well known in their respective states, page on the national level they are largely anonymous outside of a few devoted alumni and graduate school admissions officers. The latter group, prostate however, is an important one. Rest assured that a degree from any of these colleges will get the respect it deserves when the time comes to apply to law school, medical school, or any other kind of school. As for the window decal, think of it as a well-kept secret-only a select few will recognize its significance.

Centre College. Small Kentucky college (1,000) known for producing Rhodes Scholars and devoted alumni … Traditional liberal arts curriculum, largely conservative student body … Fraternities and football games are the staples of social life … Old grads still talk about gridiron upset of Harvard in 1921.

Millsaps College. The pride of Mississippi higher education … Best liberal arts college in the Deep, Deep South … Largely pre-professional student body has sights set on business, law, and medicine … Known as liberal hotbed in Mississippi (translation: middle-of-the-road to conservative).

University of Redlands. One of the West Coast’s most versatile small colleges (1,800) … Offers optional individualized program in which students “contract” with faculty to create their entire program … Also offers pre-professional training in business, education, and even engineering.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, what is ed the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority, approved ” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
There are many reasons why students and parents would want to consider a conservative college. Let’s face it, cheapest the political climate at most elite liberal arts colleges is dominated by liberals. Even at schools where conservatives may constitute a “silent majority,” they are often reluctant to challenge the prevailing political correctness. Furthermore, university faculties are overwhelmingly liberal, almost without exception in arts-and-sciences schools. In recent years, the gap between the values of college faculties and the more conservative segments of society has grown increasingly wide. Many families may be seeking one or more of the following:

  • a place that emphasizes the Western tradition rather than multiculturalism
  • a place where conservative opinions can be openly expressed without being branded as racist or sexist
  • a place where moral and/or Christian values set the tenor of life

Grove City College. A rising star among conservative colleges … Known for refusal to accept government funds … Low tuition translates to a top rating among bargain schools … Christian values set the tone … Small-town campus is within striking distance of Pittsburgh.

Hampden-Sydney College. Southern Virginia conservative bastion that is one of two all-male liberal arts colleges (without a coordinate women’s college) left in the nation … Feeder school to the Virginia political and economic establishment in Richmond … Picturesque eastern Virginia setting where the Old South still lives.

Pepperdine University. Opulent hillside paradise in L.A.’s ritzy Malibu … With popularity surging, only one in three applicants accepted … Affiliation with Disciples of Christ means no drinking and strict visitation rules … Dancing now allowed … Business is by far the most popular program.
The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College gives step-by-step advice on every aspect of the college search. It also offers advice on how to write a winning college essay, including what not to do:

Trite phrases.
Most admissions officers are near nausea with applicants who “want to help people.” Think of something that is unique about you.

Slickness.
An essay that reads as if it has been churned out by Dad’s public-relations firm will not impress. Let the real you shine through.

Cynicism.
Colleges want bright, active people-not wet blankets. A positive approach to life, and to the essay, will score points.

Life histories.
Make sure your essay has a point. An endless stream of phrases like “then I did this, and then I did this” is sleep-inducing and doesn’t say anything meaningful.

Essay that goes on forever.
More is not better. The colleges want a concise, well-reasoned essay-not the sequel to War and Peace. Try not to exceed the amount of space allotted for each essay.

The thesaurus syndrome.
Don’t overutilize ostentatiously pretentious language to delineate the thematic observations you are endeavoring to articulate. Big words aren’t impressive; a clear, direct style is.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
Many people assume that an adult standing in the front of the room, case
with students listening attentively, will automatically raise scores. But studies among college students have shown that those who listen to a lecture learn no more than those who get a transcript of what was said. That bodes ill for national test prep companies because many instructors are recent college graduates who rely heavily on company books. “What was taught in the classroom was the exact same thing printed in the Kaplan book I bought from the bookstore,” complains a 740 V, 690 M scorer. Another student who prepped at a local firm and scored 610 V, 690 M writes, “It seemed that the instructors became talking books. Everything they told us I had already read…. The instructors often didn’t know the answers to questions outside our homework.”

Despite the subjectivity involved, we wanted to know about students’ perceptions of whether coaching increased their scores. The survey gave students a choice of five responses to how much they thought their composite score increased: None; 50 points or less; 60–100 points; 110–150 points; or 160+ points. The most common response was 60–100 points, followed by 50 points or less. Together, these two responses formed a solid majority across all score intervals and all test prep companies. Lesser and approximately equal numbers of students believed that their score went up not at all, or 110–150 points, and a smaller fraction believed that its scores had gone up 160 points or more. There was only one systematic difference in the responses. Those who scored lower than 1100 were less likely to believe that their score had jumped more than 100 points.

Of the students who thought that their prep course was worthwhile, few cited test-taking strategies or the insight of the instructor as the reason why it was useful. The most commonly cited benefit was access to practice tests; a close second was having someone on the scene to make sure they got done. “The course itself did not provide many helpful hints but did force me to take practice tests,” says a 600 V, 600 M scorer. “My tutor made me do the work on the tests,” admits another student who scored 690 V, 710 M. “If he hadn’t forced me to do it, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Many students tended to be forgiving when coaching courses failed to deliver the promised score increases. “I learned a lot of great strategies but did not improve my score by the 100 points that were guaranteed,” said a 650 V, 550 M Princeton Review student of her prep course. “I would still recommend it to other students because I know that it can be very helpful for many students.”

“I only increased 10 points,” wrote a 540 V, 560 M Princeton Review prepper who elsewhere noted, “I would recommend this course. It was very helpful learning the tips on how to take the SATs.” Another Princeton Review student with a combined score of 550 V, 630 M had an interesting hypothesis about score increases: “Each time I took a practice test my score improved. I think the tests they gave got easier, because my real SAT score was a lot lower than my final practice score.” One 640 V, 590 M scorer was perturbed by what she perceived as Princeton Review’s lack of follow-through. “Princeton Review did not keep its word about private tutoring if I didn’t go up 100 points from my first practice test. I had to find a tutor on my own.” (Princeton Review’s guarantee for private tutoring is the same as for its classroom courses.)

Source: Fiske Nailing the New SAT.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
Many people assume that an adult standing in the front of the room, case
with students listening attentively, will automatically raise scores. But studies among college students have shown that those who listen to a lecture learn no more than those who get a transcript of what was said. That bodes ill for national test prep companies because many instructors are recent college graduates who rely heavily on company books. “What was taught in the classroom was the exact same thing printed in the Kaplan book I bought from the bookstore,” complains a 740 V, 690 M scorer. Another student who prepped at a local firm and scored 610 V, 690 M writes, “It seemed that the instructors became talking books. Everything they told us I had already read…. The instructors often didn’t know the answers to questions outside our homework.”

Despite the subjectivity involved, we wanted to know about students’ perceptions of whether coaching increased their scores. The survey gave students a choice of five responses to how much they thought their composite score increased: None; 50 points or less; 60–100 points; 110–150 points; or 160+ points. The most common response was 60–100 points, followed by 50 points or less. Together, these two responses formed a solid majority across all score intervals and all test prep companies. Lesser and approximately equal numbers of students believed that their score went up not at all, or 110–150 points, and a smaller fraction believed that its scores had gone up 160 points or more. There was only one systematic difference in the responses. Those who scored lower than 1100 were less likely to believe that their score had jumped more than 100 points.

Of the students who thought that their prep course was worthwhile, few cited test-taking strategies or the insight of the instructor as the reason why it was useful. The most commonly cited benefit was access to practice tests; a close second was having someone on the scene to make sure they got done. “The course itself did not provide many helpful hints but did force me to take practice tests,” says a 600 V, 600 M scorer. “My tutor made me do the work on the tests,” admits another student who scored 690 V, 710 M. “If he hadn’t forced me to do it, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Many students tended to be forgiving when coaching courses failed to deliver the promised score increases. “I learned a lot of great strategies but did not improve my score by the 100 points that were guaranteed,” said a 650 V, 550 M Princeton Review student of her prep course. “I would still recommend it to other students because I know that it can be very helpful for many students.”

“I only increased 10 points,” wrote a 540 V, 560 M Princeton Review prepper who elsewhere noted, “I would recommend this course. It was very helpful learning the tips on how to take the SATs.” Another Princeton Review student with a combined score of 550 V, 630 M had an interesting hypothesis about score increases: “Each time I took a practice test my score improved. I think the tests they gave got easier, because my real SAT score was a lot lower than my final practice score.” One 640 V, 590 M scorer was perturbed by what she perceived as Princeton Review’s lack of follow-through. “Princeton Review did not keep its word about private tutoring if I didn’t go up 100 points from my first practice test. I had to find a tutor on my own.” (Princeton Review’s guarantee for private tutoring is the same as for its classroom courses.)

Source: Fiske Nailing the New SAT.
A majority of the students in our survey who paid for SAT coaching said that the idea came from mom and dad. That’s understandable—parents are the ones who pay the bill. But our questionnaires found numerous instances when over-stressed parents crammed a cram course down the throat of an unwilling student. One my-mom-made-me-do-it prepper describes his course as “a waste of time and money, sovaldi sale ” adding that “what helped was sitting down by myself and becoming comfortable with the format.” He scored 700 V and 730 M.

Another student says his math tutoring was “worthless” and that he reacted negatively “because it was not my choice.” His scores were 760 V, 690 M and he advises students to take practice tests and prepare on their own. Yet another student was prodded by his parents to get tutoring in math after he scored “only” 640 the first time. “It was boring and I wasn’t told anything I didn’t already know. I’m just glad my parents paid for it, not me,” he tells us. And his math score the second time? 640 again. Asked about the benefits of her prep course, another student who scored 520 V and 630 M replied: “It pleased my parents.” Were the benefits worth the cost? “NO!”

Source: Fiske Nailing the New SAT.
The Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College gives detailed advice on every facet of the search for scholarships and financial aid. The following excerpt offers an introduction to the process.

The first rule of financial aid is simple: The colleges are the place to find it. About 95 percent of the available dollars are administered through them, click including virtually all of the federal money and most state grants. We’ll suggest other places to look later on, cheapest but this chapter focuses solely on money that comes by virtue of applying for financial aid at a college.

As we have noted, order college-administered financial aid comes in two basic varieties: awards based on academic merit or special talents, and awards based on need. Your first major decision in the financial-aid search is whether or not to apply for need-based aid. In most cases, the answer should be yes. Even if your family income is over $100,000, there is still a chance that you may qualify for something, and some non-need awards require an aid application. We recommend that you sit down with your parents at the outset of the college search and ask a simple question: How much can the family afford to pay each year for college? A ballpark figure will do. Next, compare that number with the total of tuition, room and board, and fees (plus at least $2,500 for travel, books, and living expenses) at the college(s) you are interested in attending. If the total of those is larger than what your parents feel they can afford, you should definitely apply for financial aid.

This clear, accessible guide takes students and their parents step-by-step through the admissions process. The talk with your parents should inject a dose of reality into your college search. If the figure they can pay is below the cost of your schools, you need to investigate some cheaper options. But don’t eliminate the expensive ones just yet. Apply for aid and see what you can get. The time to judge whether a college is too expensive comes at the end of the process, after the financial-aid awards have been made. Only then will you know the actual out-of-pocket costs of each school.

To illustrate this point, we offer the following example. Let’s assume that a close personal friend of yours named Todd Tight-Wad is applying to two schools: an expensive private college charging $30,000 per year and a state university with a more modest sticker price of $10,000. Which one do you think will end up costing Todd’s family more? The one that costs $30,000, right? Maybe-but maybe not.

When Todd applies for financial aid, the system reviews his family’s assets and calculates something called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)-the amount Todd’s family can afford for college. Let’s say his family’s EFC is $7,000. If the colleges are willing and able, they’ll give Todd financial aid to cover what they consider to be his “demonstrated need”-the difference between the EFC calculated by the aid formula and their sticker price. At the expensive private college, he would qualify for $23,000 in aid, while at the public university he would get only $3,000. Even though the sticker prices of the two are vastly different, they both end up costing him $7,000. Even if his EFC were much higher-$15,000 or so-he would still qualify for $15,000 from the private college to help soften the blow. In a few cases, the expensive college might actually turn out to be cheaper. Public universities are typically much less generous with need-based aid than private ones, and if the private one meets Todd’s full demonstrated need while the public one meets none of it, the pricey $30,000 private school turns out to be $3,000 cheaper when all is said and done.

For an early indication of how the system might work for your family, we recommend that you complete one of the financial aid estimators that are available via the World Wide Web. (Some financial aid offices also make them available on paper or via their web sites.) These programs replicate the aid formulas used to calculate need. Simply plug in your family’s financial data, and voilà-out comes the EFC. For thoroughness and reliability, we recommend the College Board’s aid estimator on its Web site at www.collegeboard.com.

If you and your parents are careful with your data, the estimator should give a rough idea of how much aid you can expect. The results will help dictate your financial aid strategy. If your EFC is over $25,000, your best hope of significant aid probably lies in merit scholarships. If your EFC is less than $10,000, you’ll want to look at schools with a firm commitment to need-based aid.

We emphasize that an aid estimator will give only a ballpark figure, and their predictive ability is less for those who have complicated finances. With college purse strings pulled tighter every year, the financial-aid system is less reliable than ever before. Families can no longer sit back and trust that they’ll get all the money they need. One essential strategy is to apply to one or more schools where you are sure your family can pay the sticker price. Second, you and your parents should do a thorough job of financial aid comparison shopping before you apply. The new world of financial aid has more twists and turns than a Stephen King thriller. The time has come to move beyond Financial Aid 101.

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, website like this
decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.

Source: Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011.
Two decades ago a small number of U.S. colleges and universities, more about
including Bates and Bowdoin, decided that they would no longer require all applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. They reasoned that there is a significant pool of bright students who can do quality academic work but who for one reason or another do not test well. A “test optional” policy would allow them to tap into this market.

Over the years the number of “test optional” schools has grown dramatically. The National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based advocacy organization that is critical of standardized testing in general, has tracked this growth, and at press time its website (www.fairtest.org) listed 755 such colleges and universities. Reasons for this growing aversion to college admissions tests are many. The early test optional schools have been happy with the way the policy has worked out. The SAT has been a focus of repeated controversy, especially around incidents of scoring error. And perhaps most importantly, the whole field of “test prep” has spiraled out of control. Students and parents alike are tired of the anxiety surrounding prep courses—not to mention the financial cost of helping bolster the coffers of Kaplan or Princeton Review.

Until recently there was not much that students could do—especially if they hoped to be able to choose among a range of quality colleges. Over the last two or three years, however, a critical mass has emerged of quality liberal arts colleges and major state universities that are “test optional.” There are now 50 such institutions covered in the Fiske Guide. For the first time, students who wish to avoid getting involved in the admissions test rat race can do so but while still enjoying a range of colleges and universities from which to choose.

Accordingly, we have decided to begin publishing a list of those colleges and universities in the Guide that are “test optional.” We are not recommending that any particular student eschew college admissions tests and apply only to these schools. As a resource designed to help students and parents, we are simply pointing out that applicants now have that option.

In looking over the list below of “test optional” colleges and universities described in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011, please keep a couple of things in mind. First, most of them are large state universities or small liberal arts colleges. You won’t find many other types, including the Ivies or flagship publics. Second, keep in mind that there are different ways of being “test optional.” Some schools, for example, only exempt students who meet certain GPA or class rank criteria. Qualifications are noted in the footnotes. Finally, the test optional field is changing daily, so go to www.fairtest.org for updated information and, above all, confirm current policy with any school to which you are thinking of applying.
Many people assume that an adult standing in the front of the room, case
with students listening attentively, will automatically raise scores. But studies among college students have shown that those who listen to a lecture learn no more than those who get a transcript of what was said. That bodes ill for national test prep companies because many instructors are recent college graduates who rely heavily on company books. “What was taught in the classroom was the exact same thing printed in the Kaplan book I bought from the bookstore,” complains a 740 V, 690 M scorer. Another student who prepped at a local firm and scored 610 V, 690 M writes, “It seemed that the instructors became talking books. Everything they told us I had already read…. The instructors often didn’t know the answers to questions outside our homework.”

Despite the subjectivity involved, we wanted to know about students’ perceptions of whether coaching increased their scores. The survey gave students a choice of five responses to how much they thought their composite score increased: None; 50 points or less; 60–100 points; 110–150 points; or 160+ points. The most common response was 60–100 points, followed by 50 points or less. Together, these two responses formed a solid majority across all score intervals and all test prep companies. Lesser and approximately equal numbers of students believed that their score went up not at all, or 110–150 points, and a smaller fraction believed that its scores had gone up 160 points or more. There was only one systematic difference in the responses. Those who scored lower than 1100 were less likely to believe that their score had jumped more than 100 points.

Of the students who thought that their prep course was worthwhile, few cited test-taking strategies or the insight of the instructor as the reason why it was useful. The most commonly cited benefit was access to practice tests; a close second was having someone on the scene to make sure they got done. “The course itself did not provide many helpful hints but did force me to take practice tests,” says a 600 V, 600 M scorer. “My tutor made me do the work on the tests,” admits another student who scored 690 V, 710 M. “If he hadn’t forced me to do it, I probably wouldn’t have done it.”

Many students tended to be forgiving when coaching courses failed to deliver the promised score increases. “I learned a lot of great strategies but did not improve my score by the 100 points that were guaranteed,” said a 650 V, 550 M Princeton Review student of her prep course. “I would still recommend it to other students because I know that it can be very helpful for many students.”

“I only increased 10 points,” wrote a 540 V, 560 M Princeton Review prepper who elsewhere noted, “I would recommend this course. It was very helpful learning the tips on how to take the SATs.” Another Princeton Review student with a combined score of 550 V, 630 M had an interesting hypothesis about score increases: “Each time I took a practice test my score improved. I think the tests they gave got easier, because my real SAT score was a lot lower than my final practice score.” One 640 V, 590 M scorer was perturbed by what she perceived as Princeton Review’s lack of follow-through. “Princeton Review did not keep its word about private tutoring if I didn’t go up 100 points from my first practice test. I had to find a tutor on my own.” (Princeton Review’s guarantee for private tutoring is the same as for its classroom courses.)

Source: Fiske Nailing the New SAT.
A majority of the students in our survey who paid for SAT coaching said that the idea came from mom and dad. That’s understandable—parents are the ones who pay the bill. But our questionnaires found numerous instances when over-stressed parents crammed a cram course down the throat of an unwilling student. One my-mom-made-me-do-it prepper describes his course as “a waste of time and money, sovaldi sale ” adding that “what helped was sitting down by myself and becoming comfortable with the format.” He scored 700 V and 730 M.

Another student says his math tutoring was “worthless” and that he reacted negatively “because it was not my choice.” His scores were 760 V, 690 M and he advises students to take practice tests and prepare on their own. Yet another student was prodded by his parents to get tutoring in math after he scored “only” 640 the first time. “It was boring and I wasn’t told anything I didn’t already know. I’m just glad my parents paid for it, not me,” he tells us. And his math score the second time? 640 again. Asked about the benefits of her prep course, another student who scored 520 V and 630 M replied: “It pleased my parents.” Were the benefits worth the cost? “NO!”

Source: Fiske Nailing the New SAT.
Since you’re too smart to fret and pull your hair out over a tough problem, help
there are two options. You can either skip it and come back, price
or you can guess. Our survey included many advocates of skipping. “I took practice tests and found out a target score and the number I could skip to get the score, here ” says a matter-of-fact student who got 700 V, 690 M. According to a 770 V, 800 M scorer, “It’s better to get all the easy questions done that you can, so you aren’t rushing through them later and making stupid mistakes.” Another student was not satisfied with her 690 V, 710 M on her first SAT. “I knew I could do better because I hadn’t managed my time very well, so I taught myself to skip hard questions. (It really does help, even though it feels wrong after taking too many tests in school where you had to answer every question.)” With the new strategy, her score jumped to 760 V and 740 M.

Despite widespread praise for skipping, there were some dissenting voices. One student who scored 610 V, 630 M writes that skipping “misleads an average student into thinking that he or she cannot do a question.” Another potential drawback: skipping means that you must read the question twice, and you may need to remind yourself of its context. This can be especially damaging in the Reading Comprehension, where students who skip are forced to reacquaint themselves with an entire passage. Says a Princeton-bound 730 V, 770 M scorer, “Too much jumping around can be discouraging and/or time-consuming rather than time-saving.” There is also the nightmare scenario of skipping a problem in the test booklet but forgetting to skip on the answer sheet.

If you do skip, watch your oval blackening with extra care.

Write some quick notes in the test booklet next to the problem if you have a thought worth remembering when you come back. If you can eliminate possible answers before moving on, leave a mark to remind yourself which ones you have eliminated.

Students should experiment with the amount of questions they skip. Between three and five is a reasonable number. If you find yourself skipping more than ten, you may need to start trying harder to get an answer before you skip, or making a few more guesses before moving on.

Students who are generally unable to finish the test—but who also get distracted by skipping—can try a modified version of this strategy. Because test questions of each type go from easy to hard (with the exception of Reading Comprehension), some students may prefer to answer every question through the first two-thirds or three-quarters of each section, and then skip around among the hard questions at the end. This strategy allows unbroken concentration at the beginning while limiting time-pressure anxiety. After completing most of the test, students can use the remaining time to decide which of the relatively hard questions at the end of the section they will answer. This method is preferable to working straight through until time runs out because it is always possible that an easy question or two—or perhaps a “hard” question to which you happen to know the answer—will be lurking near the end.

In lieu of skipping, your second alternative for a stumper question is to guess. Which option is best? It depends on the question. If your gut feeling is that more thought will give you a chance to solve the problem, skip it. If you size it up and conclude that more thinking is not going to help, make a guess and move on. As you take your practice tests, ask yourself: Do you often skip a problem and then come back to it, only to make a guess because you still can’t figure it out? If so, you would have been better off to guess the first time and put the question out of your mind.

One thing you should never do is leave a question blank. On the multiple-choice questions that form the majority of the test, ETS awards one point for each question you get right and subtracts one-quarter of a point for every one you get wrong. That means that if you randomly guess at five, the odds are that you will get one right and miss four—with no affect on your score. The idea is to ensure that on average, random guessing will neither hurt nor help you. But guesses on the SAT are rarely random. In most cases, you can eliminate at least one bonehead response. On questions where you have any clue, no matter how faint, a guess is better than no answer.

To gauge the effectiveness of your guessing, we recommend that you monitor how many of your guesses are right and wrong when you take your practice tests. You can do so by making a mark beside each response that is a guess, then checking to see if you got them right. “Taking timed practice tests and making educated guesses sort of go hand-in-hand,” says a student who scored 730 V, 800 M, “By taking mock SATs, I was able to get used to the answers that the test-makers were looking for, and was thus able to reason out answers on the actual test.” Another student who scored 800 V, 730 M says that practice tests “help you find out how good of an ‘educated guesser’ you are so you’ll know how much to trust that skill.”

Source: The Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College.