What are the best ways to get unbiased opinions about a school?
Talk to current & past students, guidance counselors, and college admissions experts who have NO ax to grind! Get copies of student newspapers and see what their comments are. Obviously, there are other sources of info on the Internet; a Google search can reveal unlimited possibilities!
Research the college’s website, taking note of key factors that are important for your success. Then, explore ‘third party’ resources, but do so with a grain of salt, knowing that many of the resources available are subjective. Explore books like Colleges That Change Lives, The Fiske Guide, and obviously use online resources like College Navigator (data driven) and Unigo.
This is a tough question. Everyone wants you to believe that their school is the best. From faculty, current students and alums; they are biased. One of my favorite questions to ask is: if money were no object, what would you like to see the school do with their next monetary gift? It’s a nicer way of finding out a weakness on campus and answers tend to come quickly. Read the school newspaper, check out bulletin boards on campus, keep talking to folks, but just realize that some may not be as objective as you’d like.
I don’t know that you truly can for everyone has their own biases and their own values and anything they share, however sincere, reflects, at least in part, that fact. Schools seek to present a particular message based on their needs and what they are seeking in a student body and evey alum or current student is offering opinions and information viewed through their personal lens. Statstics can be somewhat objective but what they measure is only a fraction of the whole picture. Education is a tremendously human process and no amount of study or research can give you a definitive answer about how it will resonate with another individual. You can–and should–try to get as much information as you can, but in the end it will come down to how the process and the experience connects with you
Ask several students.
It’s actually hard to get unbiased opinions because most people have an opinion one way or the other. To get a range of opinions, look at rankings and opinion sites that give student views on the school, try and speak to alumni and current students, talk to your guidance counselor and look at fact-based information such as the common data set or the US government’s college navigator site. In addition, I would take a look at the college newspaper, which often gives information on campus issues.
There are two ways to accomplish this:
The Overnight Visit Method:
If you can afford it, visit the college yourself and experience a small slice of college life first-hand. If you can spend a night there, you’ll really get a honest depiction of college life both in and out of the classroom.
The Research Method:
Read as many guides (both print and online) as you can about your college of choice. Then you can form your own unbiased opinion of the college. It is also helpful to read guides and websites that offer “insider” views of the colleges taken from student perspectives. Filter all of these voices, look for patterns and form your own opinion based on your research.
Finally, don’t blindly trust the judgment and experiences of others. Certainly, alumni can give you a picture of what the college was like during their time there, but colleges change in character and program constantly.
The only way to know if a college is right for you is to follow your own opinion based on your experience or research.
Speak to those that are “unbiased”. Working with an independent counselor is a start, but on your own, talk to students on campus who really have little incentive to lie to you. If you know alumni at your school or within your community, you can also get good feedback there. Some online sites promise behind the scenes reviews, but I find that the majority of these are negative, so take them with a grain of salt. Also remember that there are an number of guidebooks out there written by professionals in the field with a good overview of schools without any interest of selling you on one school over another.
The best way to get an unbiased opinion about the school is to visit the school, sit in a class, take a tour, ask questions from tour guides and other students attending the university/college- its really about an individualized experience not about ranking.
Everyone will have an opinion that in one way or another could be biased. I think the best way to evaluate a school is combining methods. First read about the school online on a site like UNIGO as well as the schools own website. If you like what you read (and see) online try to schedule a visit. On an official visit you will hear about the school from admissions staff and current students who serve as ambassadors. You should also talk to any friends or relatives that may have attended the institution to get their perspective. All of these avenues should be explored so you can come up with your own opinion of the school as it relates to your interests and goals.
There is no such thing as an unbiased opinion. Whether you’re talking to a school’s admission officer, a current student, or a twenty-year alum, they’re comments are all going to be influenced by their own experience. Seek out information about schools wherever and from whomever you can, but it’s up to you to filter their comments wisely.
Whenever possible, find ways to form your own opinions about schools. Visit campuses and sit in on classes. Explore the research and other work faculty and students are producing. Hang out on campus both on a weekday and a weekend. Spend time looking and listening, then decide what YOU think.
Narrow down over 1,000,000 scholarships with personalized results.
Get matched to scholarships that are perfect for you!
EducationDynamics maintains business relationships with the schools it features. The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.