Guidebooks--It is all in How You Use Them
A guidebook, is just that, a guides and their value in the college search process is less about them than it is about the applicant, for the key is in how one uses them. Are they simply a centralized source of information, something that can save one from jumping from website to website or are they a bible, the last word about the supposed personality and character of a campus and a school. I must admit that I generally loath the annual guides put out by U.S. News for I believe that the rankings as well as much of their “advice” put too much emphasis on things of no real value to the educational process. At the same time, the second half of the guide is as good and comprehensive a collection of the basic facts—size, major programs, graduation rates, standardized test requirements, etc.—as one can find. Having all that together can be a big help in streamlining the search process. Readers must recognize that each guide has its own agenda, and in the increasingly competitive marketplace, publishers seek to present schools in way that sets their book apart. However, that slant does not guarantee the best presentation of the schools. Indeed, like us, the Unigo experts, every reference book and expert reflects some biases for we are dealing in the most human of processes--college admission. Consequently, in the end, guidebooks can be value but their real value depends upon what the reader is looking for and how they use the individual guide.