In the spirit of a new college admissions cycle and for the benefit of both rising juniors and seniors we will be publishing a series of reviews of college search websites. Some have a plethora of worthwhile information which can really help a student create a thorough list of both academically and financially appropriate schools, while other search sites are merely front-ends collection sources for capturing student information and reselling it to companies (and colleges) wanting to sell products, services, and applications to students. So follow us to know which sites are worth spending your time on and which to avoid.
3 Steps to Show Why You Should Visit:
- In the Choose a College box, enter a college you’re interested in.
- Click on the “Similar Colleges” tab.
- Change the “Grad Rate Timeframe” to “4-Year” and the Most Similar Colleges to “Top 25.” and click update Table Data.
You now have a way to learn about colleges you have never heard of before and expand your college list.
What to look for on this site:
The Excel Download Option This is the only website that allows you to simply download all of the information presented into an Excel spreadsheet. This is how I started creating my College Search Spreadsheet. By having your own spreadsheet, you can start adding other information important to your family in the college search process.
Price and Financial Aid Tab Spend some time learning the information on this tab–it’s worth it. Make sure you pay attention to the “Average Net Price After Grants” column. Any school with an average net price over $30,000 is highly unlikely to be offering substantial merit aid. Those under $26,000 are probably good candidates for merit aid. Anything in between you need to look at very closely.
What I Would Change About This Website
What can I say, this is my favorite college search website, the one I use to measure all others. So there is very little that I find “wrong” with it. I do think it’s missing some very useful information in the “Price and Financial Aid” tab. It doesn’t include the percentage of freshman receiving institutional aid. This number is another very useful indicator for targeting schools for merit or need-based aid. I also think that the default graduation rate should be set to “4-year” instead of “6-year.” And the advanced search option combines Division 2 and Division 3 athletics which doesn’t make sense since one offers athletic scholarships and the other doesn’t.
College Results Online does not include information on class rank or percentage of financial need met. However, this information is only included in the data collected through the Common Data Set which is proprietary information. The data in College Results is primarily from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) run by the federal government.
Michelle Kretzschmar created the DIY College Rankings Spreadsheet , which contains information on over 1,500 colleges that families can use to identify the best schools for them. She has also created a 50-50 list of colleges that accept at least 50% of their applicants and have at least a 50% graduation rate. You can also learn more about using college websites in her new e-book Creating College Lists: Your Guide to Using College Websites to Pay Less for a Better Education.