What are the quickest ways to research colleges?

College Search

Our counselors answered:

What are the quickest ways to research colleges?

Scott White
Director of Guidance Montclair High School

What are the quickest ways to research colleges?

There are many good college search engines: college board, princeton review, naviance, etc.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

My Favorite Search Sites

1. College Navigator allows user-defined searching on a number of key parameters. http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ 2. Perfect for students that loathe rankings, USA Today’s college search tool is based on the National Survey of Student Engagement. The methodology couldn't be more different than US News. http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/nsse.htm 3. The "Inside College" site is a list maker's dream! Available lists span everything from “Schools for Gleeks” to “Schools with Distinction in Dance” to “Schools with a Club Sailing Team.” http://www.insidecollege.com/reno/home.do

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

College Finds

I appreciate that on Google, you can do an "advanced search" using specific words, phrases, or majors. I always have one tab opened to Collegeboard and one finger jammed inside The College Finder, my dear mentor and colleague, Steve Antonoff's indispensable and utterly relevant book of college lists.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Researching 101

Obviously the web will give you an immediate read on colleges. Whether you use school-specific sites, Unigo.com, or other search engines; there is nothing like the instant feedback from the internet. Talking to folks is another avenue to pursue when gleaning information. Guidebooks, view books, and educational consultants/guidance counselors are other options to consider.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Research online first

Here is my advice on researching colleges online: INFORMATION TO CHECK ON EACH SCHOOL WEBSITE: VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE SCHOOL/YOUNIVERSITY videos! ACCEPTANCE RATE PROFILE OF THE LAST ENTERING FRESHMAN CLASS AVERAGE GPA AVERAGE SAT/ACT MAJORS/DEGREES AND COURSES OFFERED: WHICH PROGRAMS AND MAJORS ARE YOU INTERESTED IN? DO YOU LIKE THE PROGRAM? CAMPUS LIFE: GREEK LIFE? CLUBS? HILLEL? ARE YOUR INTERESTS REPRESENTED? LOOK AT HOUSING AND RESIDENTIAL LIFE. HOW MANY STUDENTS LIVE ON CAMPUS? DOES THE COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY INTEREST YOU? WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT? WHAT DON’T YOU LIKE? CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF THERE? DO YOU WANT TO VISIT?

Diane Coburn Bruning
choreographer/counselor in performing arts College Match, Inc, Performing Arts Specialist

Dance and Performing Arts - a different way to research them

In the case of dance and the performing arts, outside of the usual search methods, a very savvy way to research the departments is by reading bios of artists in dance companies, orchestras, opera, theatre to learn which colleges they attended. These bios are often on the company websites and also in the playbills of the performances you may attend. If you read enough of them, you may see a trend toward several schools and get a feeling for which departments graduate the artists who work in companies to which you aspire.

Margaret Tung
Strategist Yale University

What are the quickest ways to research colleges?

1. Ask for their brochure and go to their website! 2. Contact any alumni friends your parents, brothers/sisters, or teachers might have who would be interested in discussing it with you--remember it's not an interview, it's an opportunity for you to see whether you'd be interested. 3. Google them! See what they're about. Check out college forums, college profiles--their website, college newspapers and publications...

Cheryl Millington

What are the quickest ways to research colleges?

The quickest ways to research colleges is by usuing guide books and rankings. But use both to narrow your choices and get further information from other sources. Guide books I especially like the fact that you can research a number of schools in one place for a relatively small investment of cost and time. I also believe that it can be faster than visiting the websites and trying to summarize the web info of that many colleges. What is also great about guide books is that usually it is easy for you to compare all colleges on the same selected factors. This is a great place to start (but not end) your research. Pay attention to the tone of the review, while it may appear to be unbiased, it probably isn’t. Use guide books to make a short list of your schools and then get further information on them from other sources. Rankings Similar to guide books, rankings are nice to show the number of schools that may be a good fit for you. But it’s important to know the methodology of the ranking; how number one versus number 100 was determined. If you had access to the raw numbers, you’ll be surprised to know that sometimes there are very small differences in scores, for example, between number 15 and 20. Also, try to determine how the information was gathered. Who supplied the information? When was the research conducted? The answers to these questions can change the results of the rankings. Some of the factors considered may not be important to you or be as heavily weighted if you were to come up with your own ranking. You may have noticed that different rankings have different results, so look for consistency. I like to divide rankings into quarters and then see if a school consistently falls in a particular quarter. Not every school participates in every ranking, so don’t assume if they are not listed, they were below the lowest university on the ranking. Therefore, use the information carefully and wisely.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

What are the quickest ways to research colleges?

In this day and age the internet is without a doubt the quickest way to undertake initial college research. Whether you are focusing on size or location, program or cost, a few strategic, appropriately chosen words entered into a “Google search” can lead you to a wealth of first impression information from which you can later expand your search and get a more defined sense of the schools you might be interested in. Whether through lists or rankings, in numeric or narrative form, there is a wealth of information out there to be had, but much of its real value will stem from how carefully you have identified what it is you want to know. The search–even at its earliest stages—is about trying to find the best possible fit for the individual student.

Kris Hintz
Founder Position U 4 College LLC

What are the quickest ways to research colleges?

If you know what you want to study, start with academic programs. The College Finder by Steven Antonoff will help you identify colleges that should be on your radar screen for specific majors. Antonoff also has a website called InsideCollege.com. US News & World Report ranks some undergraduate programs, such as engineering and business. If you know that affording college is going to be an issue, identify "best value" colleges from Kiplinger's website. You can also do a quick search of merit scholarships at colleges you are interested in at MeritAid.com.