Are You a Helicopter Parent? Take the College Board's quiz and find out if you're hovering too close.
How to gently help package your senior for college admission http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/living/2003326861_collegeap28.html
Which are really the "best" schools? How to sort out school rankings.http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/education/2003976399_collwebrankings.html
U.S. News & World Report "America's Best Colleges 2008" (U.S. News & World Report, $9.95)
Despite a backlash against it for a ranking system many schools protest is unfair, this annual guide continues to be the yardstick against which other college-admission magazine-format guides and Web sites are judged. (It ranks the U.W. No. 42 among national universities.) This year, military academies are added, and, responding to criticism, there's a new way small schools are judged against each other. Useful for finding how many students graduate in four years, class size and student-to-faculty ratio, among other information.
An online version more in-depth than what is available for free is $14.95; print version is $19.95.
"College Navigator 2007: Find a School to Match Any Interest from Archery to Zoology," by editors at The Princeton Review ($12.95).
Comprehensive 400-page guide takes a microscopic look at academic and campus life; cross-referenced so a student can find, say, a college with a mythology major and a competitive lacrosse team.
"The Best 366 Colleges, 2008 edition," by Princeton Review (Random House, $21.95).
www.princetonreview.com The latest edition of this solid, popular guide includes new categories of "best career/job placement services" (a parent request) and "best classroom experience."
"Peterson's Four-Year Colleges, 2008," by editors at Peterson's ($32).
www.petersons.com/Rich college profiles, full of descriptions and stats. In addition to providing the typical college search, Peterson's lets students explore alternative education in niche areas, from info tech to performing arts.
"Fiske Guide to Colleges, 2008," by Edward Fiske with Robert Logue (Times Books, $22.95).
More than 300 colleges, with a list of each school's strongest departments and majors; rates schools on a 1-to-5 scale for academics, social life and quality of life; and includes 45 "best buy" schools.
"America's Best Value Colleges, 2008 Edition," by Eric Owens and Tom Meltzer (Princeton Review; $18.95).
Profiles 150 schools with low-to-moderate tuition.
"Choosing the Right College, 2008-09: The Whole Truth About America's Top Schools," by editors at ISI Books ($28).
This 1,076-pager features reports on everything from campus politics to intellectual diversity, with "red-," "yellow-" and "green-" light warnings related to politics in the classroom, freedom of speech on campus, local crime and other lifestyle issues at 134 liberal-arts colleges.
"Investing in College: A Guide for the Perplexed," by Malcolm Getz (Harvard University Press, $24.95). When does paying $40K a year make sense and when does it merely buy an expensive rear-window decal? When is a state university the best deal? How to choose between two seemingly similar schools? Economist and teacher Getz suggests what families should consider in weighing costs and benefits for a particular student, and how to determine quality.
"How to Get Into the Top Colleges," by Richard Montauk and Krista Klein (Prentice Hall Press, $25).
Look for advice on how to get into your first-choice school if you get wait-listed, and how to deal with a "misconduct" that appears on your transcript.
"Survival Guide for College Students with ADD or LD," by Kathleen Nadeau (American Psychological Association, $9.95).
Those with attention-deficit disorder or other learning disabilities can find ways to choose the right college, weigh services, and arrange for extended-time exams and more in this 2006 paperback.
"The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students," edited by Shane L. Windmeyer (Alyson Books, $21.95).
Profiles 100 U.S. colleges and universities that offer a "positive living and learning environment" for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. In the Northwest, University of Oregon and University of Puget Sound make their top-20 list.
The National Survey of Student Engagement
Use this site to find how involved undergraduates are at their colleges and universities. The yearly survey examines what students spend their time doing at their schools and "what they gain from their experiences." Schools can choose whether to reveal their results; if their Web sites don't reveal them, ask. The community college's version is at www.ccsse.org
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
www.nwccu.org/index.htm Use this Web site to find out if a U.S. institution is accredited. (Go to "Related Links" for more regional accrediting commissions.)
Project Opportunity: Access to Washington Colleges
www.projectopportunity.net/T his site of an association of private Washington-state colleges provides one-stop shopping and comparison of its member colleges and promotes the idea of their affordability given available financial aid. It also includes general college planning info.
U-CAN (University and College Accountability Network)
http://www.ucan-network.org/The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities sponsors this site for more than 500 of its private higher-ed institution members, including Princeton and Harvard, and expects more. Bright graphics and charts showing graduation rates, geographical makeup of enrollees, admission statistics and more. It promises continuing improvements but for now doesn't have nearly the amount of data, or direct sorting ability, of U.S. News & World Report.
National Center for Education Statistics
Well worth a visit. Assets include the ability to look up colleges by state. For example, you can ask what public colleges teach architecture in Washington (Answer: University of Washington and Washington State University).
National Collegiate Athletic Association
Info here could pack a football stadium: recruiting calendars, game schedules, school rankings, NCAA scholarship details and athletic contacts.
Gives four- and six-year graduation rates for 100 public schools, and four- and five-year graduation rates for 100 private schools.
— Suzanne Monson and others
New twists: getting social and personal
Social networking, student blogs and interactive media are an increasing part of the college-admissions process, no surprise given this generation of MySpace- and Facebook-addicted kids: Social networking and video:
Princeton Review partners with theU (theU.com) to couple MTV-style, uncensored, student-generated college video tours with a social networking twist that invites users to create their own profile and connect with others considering the same school, trade ideas about school choices and more.
Taste the flavor of campus life reading student blogs on college Web sites.
Among the most popular are the MIT bloggers (www.mitadmissions.org/blogs.shtml), who average 15,000 to 20,000 hits per day.
Closer to home, check out Seattle University's student and admissions staff bloggers (www.seattleu.edu); Western Washington University's blog for frosh (http://pandora.cii.wwu.edu/figsblog); and Gonzaga University's colorful site (http://blogs.chatuniversity.com/gonzaga).
Washington State University's Web site (www.wsu.edu) has a full-mealdeal with student and teacher blogs, videos, a link to "meet the people like you," and an "ask a student" interactive feature.
— Suzanne Monson and Times staff
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 10:51 PM
Seattle Public Schools name interim financial officer
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.