An update of Fiske's guide, originally issued in 1982 and expanded in 1983. Fiske is Education Editor of The New York Times, and the operative word in his title is, of course, ""selective."" The guide lists approximately 300 out of nearly 2,000 four-year colleges in the US. Fiske has added 14 colleges to this edition. To merit a rating, a college must meet subjective standards of academic quality. Fiske accomplishes this while attempting to offer a representative sampling of engineering schools, evangelical institutions, and West Coast and Sunbelt colleges (which offer value education at much cheaper cost than the rest of the country). The Selective Guide is one of the better-written books of its ilk, relying neither on the flippant, snobby air of Lisa Birnbach's Insider's Guide to Colleges, nor on the all-inclusive, dry recitation of facts of Barton Profile of American Colleges. Each essay (about two pages in length) gives vent to sly little perceptions that render this a pleasant book to browse through, as well as a helpful aid. The Economics Department of the University of Vermont ""is about as uncertain as the national economy it studies."" At Williams College in Massachusetts, ""nearly a third"" of the students ""are bona-fide preppies--the rest just look that way."" At California Institute of Technology, ""bragging about being first in your high-school class will impress no one--you're just joining the group."" A book that should be on every selective parent's bookshelf as the college years approach.