After some preliminary remarks about when and why to visit college campuses, the majority of the book consists of several hundred pages listing various colleges around the country that students might wish to visit. The colleges are grouped by geographical region including Northeast, Southeast, West and Midwest.
Each college in the book is given a one page summary that includes a one liner of what students on the campus say about their school, a short blurb about the region from Fodor’s travel guide, a short note about the college, a section on getting to the college by air, train, bus and car as well as a brief list of hotels near the college. Each college also has a sidebar “school at a glance” that lists basic information about the college including average freshman test scores, the cost of the college, and information about scheduling tours.
At the beginning of each geographic region there is also a mileage matrix listing the mileage from various major cities in the region to other major cities.
This book is one of those resources that I put under the category of “OK” to have but not necessary for most people. I believe there are two basic reasons for visiting a college campus. The one that we generally talk about is the visit to those colleges in which you have an interest to see if the college really fits your needs.
For this type of visit I don’t think the book adds much. Before visiting a college in which you have an interest, you should be taking a substantial amount of time to investigate that college including spending time on its website. Virtually every college will give you specific directions on how to get to campus, and generally to the admissions office. Many colleges will also provide a list of local lodging options and often even local dining options. You should know everything mentioned in this book and more before visiting a college.
However, the second type of college visit that I will often recommend is for the student who is just starting to investigate colleges and isn’t sure what they are looking for from a college. Do they want a large or small college, rural or urban, academically oriented or sports oriented? For these types of students I will often recommend that they visit a variety of different types of colleges to get an idea of what they are looking for in a college.
For these students, this book may be helpful. You don’t need to spend a lot of time researching different types of colleges because the book provides some basic information. For students just starting the college search, you can jump right in and visit different types of colleges easily.
So, if you are just in the process of figuring out what you want from the college experience, check the book out before going to visit different colleges. However, if you are making those all important college visits to determine the right fit, I don’t think you will get much help from this book.