P.N. of Searingtown, NY writes:

Are there any reputable and straightforward blogs or online forums offering advice, information and discussions for prospective college students? If so, could you recommend one?

The College Whisperer responds:

Given that blogs and online forums are essentially the opinions of their authors and/or participants, one's mileage, with respect to reputation and straightforwardness (let alone reliability), may vary greatly. Every piece of information happened upon online should be taken with at least a grain or two of salt.

That said, there are several blogs and online forums that immediately come to The College Whisperer's noggin, useful to prospective college students as well as their parents.

The first is College Confidential, which offers information on colleges, admissions, college life, and so on, as well as discussion forums where students and parents can ask questions and, on most occasions, get accurate answers. Of course, if a question asks for an opinion (i.e, Which state's university system is the best?), be prepared for a wide array and diversity of answers. [Many students find this site particularly helpful, not only during the planning and application phase, but also during that awkward "waiting to hear" stage, where, indeed, misery loves company. ;-)]

The "Not Your Average Admissions Blog," written by the Dean of Admissions at George Mason University, offers valuable and timely insight, with just a slight bias toward GMU. The blog posits an insider's view, and warrants a worthy read from time to time, no matter where you are considering applying.

For the more newsworthy of the blogs, with a spattering of human interest, check out The Choice at The New York Times, and Campus Overload, among other education-related blogs, at The Washington Post.

Then there's U.S. News & World Report, of America's Best Colleges fame (a quadruple grain of salt, please), which covers everything from Ten Great College Towns to How to Cut College Costs by $5000. A true cornucopia of college colloquia, from the mainstays to the minutia.

For the sheer fun of it, and to follow the life of a real college student from her first day through graduation -- with a whole host of action in between -- check out Kill Jill Goes To College. It's a real world chronicle of college days -- and nights -- sure to make good reading during the long, stressful college application and admission season. Hack College, whose focus is, more or less, technology (and you can't go to college without the techno stuff), is a neat read as well.

There are literally hundreds of college blogs and forums on the web, some you may find better than others, and others you'd be better off had you never found them at all. [We're still waiting for a few blogs in that last category to load!] Do a simple Google search for best college blogs or best college forums, and see what you come up with. [Should you find a fantastic site, do clue us in, okay?]

As for the best of the blogs -- and only because you asked for that singular sensation -- well, there's only one blog you'll every really need (no salt added here): TheCollegeWhisperer.com. You'll find everything you want right here (or on our parent site, College Connection, at CollegeConnect.info), including full access (for College Connection students) to College Cafe's essential links and resources. And if, by chance, you don't find what you're looking for, just ask. Remember, The College Whisperer answers all!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.
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