I'll share websites later but I’m still an old-fashioned book lover and I’ve been perusing many different college guides the past several months. The books below all help with developing an initial “college list.”
College Admission: from Application to Acceptance, Step by Step by Robin Mamlet and Christine Vandevelde. Vandevelde is a well-respected journalist and Mamlet has been Dean of Admissions at Stanford, Swarthmore and Sarah Lawrence. They have a wealth of information and experience to share. Throughout the book they also quote college counselors from different high schools, often relying on advice from Alice Kleeman, the Director of College and Career Counseling at Menlo Atherton. I recommend starting with Chapter Eight: “Creating an Initial List of Colleges.”
Fiske Guide to Getting Into the Right College by Edward Riske and Bruce Hammond.
This is a classic and it’s both popular and practical in its approach. Good idea to read through Part I and take Fiske’s “Sizing-Yourself-Up Survey” (the student, not the parent J).
Campus Visits and College Interviews by Zola Dincin and Norman Schneider
Before you go on campus visits, it’s a good idea to research the college/university first. Check out Chapter 8, “Surfing and Decoding a College Website.” It gives good tips on evaluating whether or not a college’s programs and overall emphasis are worth considering.