The Bottom Line
- Exhaustive reference tool with over 2,500 college profiles
- Good general advice on picking schools and applying to college
- Multiple indexes for searching by price, location, major, or competitiveness
- The "College Profiles" don't fully capture the personality of the schools
- Most prospective students don't need a book this big and expensive
- Unengaging writing: it's a reference book, not a good read
- The profiles in the "featured schools" section were written by the schools themselves
- More than 2,500 profiles of colleges in the U.S. and Canada
- 1,624 pages
- $32.95, but often discounted
Guide Review - Peterson's Four-Year Colleges 2012
Nevertheless, as a reference tool, this book is worthwhile. Whereas many guidebooks focus only on so-called "top" schools, Peterson's Four-Year Colleges pretty much covers them all. Also, the extensive indexes (the third section of the book) make finding what you're looking for easy. The major index is truly invaluable, for it allows you to find those few schools in North America that offer a particular major. If you're looking for equestrian studies or urban planning, this book will help point you in the right direction.
What you won't find here is commentary by students themselves or any of the more subjective quality-of-life discussions featured in other guidebooks. Peterson's "at-a-glance" profiles are small print, no nonsense, data-packed descriptions.
Peterson's Four-Year Colleges won't provide the last word as you research colleges, but it is an excellent place to start.