What are the best ways to navigate a college's website?

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Our counselors answered:

What are the best ways to navigate a college's website?

Scott White
Director of Guidance Montclair High School

What are the best ways to navigate a college's website?

Use it for information only. Use other sources for more subjective information.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

visit undergrad and grad school pages

if you are looking for admisisons information, you can limit yourself to undergrad admissions as perspective student. if you are researching majors and departments, you may go to academic departments to seek out faculties and programs. graduate school pages will offer you something else, sometimes, students learn graduate programs at school as undergrad students but apply graduate programs at different colleges.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC


College websites should have a mandatory format, shouldn' t they? Each one has a different format. I navigate college websites all day long and one thing I always look for is "fast facts". Give it to me in a nutshell. Don't make me search for what I seek.

Carita Del Valle
Founder Academic Decisions

What are the best ways to navigate a college's website?

As yourself what you are researching first and then take careful notice if these questions are being answered. Always start with campus demographics, a virtual tour, major selection and alumni happiness. Remember, the website is a marketing tool, selling a product to a consumer and if your questions are not answered clearly then will it be the same while on campus as a paying college student?

Kris Hintz
Founder Position U 4 College LLC

What are the best ways to navigate a college's website?

You may first want to get standardized "at a glance" information from sources that cover all the schools, such as College Board, Merit Aid, US News, Kiplinger. Then you can dig in to each college's individual website for more in-depth information. The most valuable information the college's website can give you is: 1. Majors and minors by school 2. Specific admission information (i.e., performing arts auditions, test-optional alternatives, early notification programs, honors college and special programs). Supplemental essay information is sometimes available, but often you can only get that through Common Application. 3. Specific financial aid and merit scholarship information and deadlines. 4. College visits (Info sessions and tours, interviews). 5. Student organizations, club & intramural sports, and community service organizations. There are no tricks to navigating a college website. Some websites are great, some are poor---with no relationship to how good the school is!

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

What are the best ways to navigate a college's website?

Call the school or ask a current student for assistance.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

What are the best ways to navigate a college's website?

Go in and just start poking around. There is no one way to do it, but there is not a college website out there that does not have a voluminous amount of information on a wealth of subjects related to the experience the school offers. Consequently, much of your effort and approach will depend upon what you need and want to know. Look for answers about the things that matter to you—the program and majors, costs and financial aid, the make-up of the student body, the realities of the social life, freshman retention and grad school placement rates, whatever it might be. The college search process will never leave you short of information. The challenge comes in sorting through it all and identifying what is most applicable and appropriate for you for you as you try to find the places that are the best fit for you.

Cheryl Millington

What are the best ways to navigate a college's website?

There are thousands of pages on a school’s website and it can be daunting to get the information that is important to a potential student. The best way to navigate a school’s website is to go directly to the admission page and then click on links that are relevant to you.

Patricia Aviezer
President Inside Track To College, Inc.

Too Much Information

Like anything else, too much of something can be a bad thing. College websites are the "best" source of information and most up-to-date resource about a particular college, but, you need to remind yourself once you enter the site, why you're there! Here's what to look for: 1. Planning to apply-then look for the undergraduate application page. 2. Read about their application plans, are they, ED, ED, REA and what are their deadlines? 3. What is required in their application, SAT/ACT, recommendations, interview, make sure you know in advance. 4. Interested in a particular major, then look into that department and glance at what their courses look like. Would you be interested in studying in that major based on their delivery model? 5. What are they highlighting on their home page, does it interest you? Do they have a facebook page, if they do, why not add it to your list so that you can follow them? Before you go into any site, determine what it is you're looking for. We all know it's easy to get lost.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Common Data Set - Real Data Without the PR Spin

The best way to get real statistics regarding admissions rates, academic profiles of admitted students, and the availability of financial aid is to Google the name of the school you are interested in along with the phrase "Common Data Set." The Common Data Set is "a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report. The combined goal of this collaboration is to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to all involved in a student's transition into higher education, as well as to reduce the reporting burden on data providers." It has all kinds of juicy information like number of applicants, number of applicants accepted, AND the number of applicants enrolled. It also provides information on how much need based and merit based financial aid a college has given each year. The CDS also provides information as to the numbers of students in various majors and degrees earned. For more information about the Common Data Set, please see http://www.commondataset.org/. If a school chooses to share its CDS answers with the public, it will usually be part of their Office of Institutional Research. If a school doesn't provide their CDS on their website, you should ask for it or ask why they don't share this information.