How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

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Our counselors answered:

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

Obviously it's biased, but you already knew that. It's very important. Study it thoroughly, as you might find that the school is perfect or that you wouldn't be caught dead there. Call them to clarify or answer questions, but make sure you know exactly who you're talking to. A student working in the financial aid office only has limited knowledge & could easily give out misleading info. In my opinion, the first thing in choosing a college is ELIMINATING schools from your list & concentrating on those that are left!

Scott Herrmann-Keeling
College Counselor

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

Official websites are important because they give you a sense of what a particular school says about itself. What opportunities are they emphasizing? What do they care about? What is their mission statement? Does that resonate with you as you read it? Look carefully at what it says (and doesn't say) about its admissions process. What types of students do they say they value? What numbers do they report and how do you stack up against those? What a college thinks of itself can be different than what former or even current students think of it. But it's important to know. If there is a disconnect but you really are attracted to what the college says about itself, you might be catching it at the leading edge of a change in its focus, which could open up some tremendous opportunities for you.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

The college website can be a very valuable source of information. Sometimes looking at the information for current students is more informative than what is included under the prospective student section. Is the site easy to navigate, do you like the tone it sets, can you find answers to your questions? If you are frustrated on line, will that mean life on campus will be challenging? Maybe or maybe not. That is why it is critical to take advantage of campus visits, talking to current students, meeting faculty. Your gut will let you know if the fit is right.

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

The official website is very useful for statistics and for learning about a school's academic programs, professors, facilities and processes for things like applications. If you're looking for facts, this is the easiest and most reliable place to turn for information. Facts and figures can get muddled out in cyberspace, so don't rely on second or third party sources which may be out of date or simply inaccurate. Go straight to the school itself. But a website can only do so much to convey a sense of a college's culture and atmosphere. To really learn what it's like to attend a school, there's no substitute for campus visits and overnight stays if at all possible. There are many incredible colleges out there that have humdrum websites, so use them for fact gathering, but don't judge a school by it's webpage.

Rana Slosberg
Owner Slosberg College Solutions LLC

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

The official website will provide you with important facts and figures about the college, as well as information on the college's mission. In addition, it may provide you with some subjective information like the school newspaper and student blogs.

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational Advisory Services, LLC

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

The official website is a font of valuable information. It is also a marketing tool. An applicant's research would be much more difficult without college websites.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

The official website carries the "official" tag, which means it has been reviewed by those who communicate the message that the school wants to convey. Do you notice the sports teams or the chemistry lab featured on the homepage? Do the students have an access portal in an easy to find location? All of these things can tell you something about the school. Look to the official website to help ascertain what the school places at the forefront of the school and it just may provide with some insight that you can find helpful.

Tira Harpaz
Founder CollegeBound Advice

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

The official website is a good place to start looking for information about a school. It will tell you about statistics, new developments on campus, interesting research and campus life. It will also generally allow you to take a virtual tour of the campus. However, because colleges vary in the amount of time and money they spend building and developing their websites, I would be careful not to be overly swayed by a great website, or overly turned off by a more basic website.

Kiersten Murphy
Executive Director and Founder Murphy College Consultants LLC

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

I think that this should always be your first source of information when evaluating a college. It should present accurate information, and highlight features that you should want to know about.

Brittany Maschal
Founder/Director B. Maschal Educational Consulting

How important is the official website in evaluating a college?

I would say very important, but not as important as visiting and seeing the real deal. Some schools may not have the amount of resources another may have to put into web development. Don't just a school by its homepage, try to get to campus and see and hear for yourself before ruling it out.