Now You Can Compare Colleges the Way You Want to Compare Them
Do you ever go to a college search website and get frustrated because it won’t let search on the variables you really want to search on?
Or maybe you want to search on average cost and then rank by admission rates but it doesn’t let you sort at all.
The problem is that the websites often have the data you’re interested in but it’s not searchable in the way you want or can’t be easily be exported into a useful format for you.
You could enter the data yourself into a spreadsheet for each school. Or if you’re lucky, the website will let you export comparison data for four schools but you don’t get to choose what data is used in the comparison.
The frustrating part is that you know the data has to be out there somewhere since so many of the websites seem to be using the same information. And you’re starting to feel there’s some sort of conspiracy to keep you from analyzing the information the way you want to.
Well, you’re right.
Not about the conspiracy part (as far as I know) but that the data exists part.
At least 80% of the data on all the different college search sites can be found in one source–The Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS). IPEDS is what drives the College Navigator and CollegeResults.org websites.
Commonly used information
Use the Data to get Answers for the Questions You Want to Ask
Imagine what you could do if you had all the data for over 1500 colleges already entered into a spreadsheet ready for you to sort and search as you see fit?
Instead of being stuck with predefined size categories, you could decide that your ideal school size is between 4,500 and 6,000 undergraduates. Then you could eliminate all the colleges where the 75th percent SAT Math score was over 700.
Enter your own search requirements
And maybe you have a theory about the relationship between the arts and sciences on campus and only want colleges where at least 3.0% of the degrees awarded were in biology and the visual and performing arts.
Oh, you also only want schools where the average net price for families with incomes between 75,001 and $110,00 is less than $20,000. And that would get you a list of 29 colleges.
Want to see what schools have at least a 50% graduation rate, more than 5,000 students, 40% or better acceptance rate, and at least a 600 75th percentile for the SAT CR? You would get 93 colleges with the 5 year graduation rate and 45 colleges with the four-year graduation rate.
Yes, you would get to choose to use the financially significant four-year graduation rate as opposed to the commonly used six-year rate.
How many college search sites let you search by graduation rates?
Search by graduation rates
Interested in colleges with January terms in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, or Wisconsin? There are 15.
Looking for potential merit aid at small, traditional student body colleges? There are 52 colleges with less than 3000 full-time undergraduates, less than 10% part-time students, less than a 610 for the 75th percentile SAT CR, and at least a 40% four-year graduation rate.
Wouldn’t you rather be analyzing information than doing data entry for every college that might be interesting?
Wouldn’t a spreadsheet that had information on over 200 variables for over 1500 colleges be a great place to start your search?
Such a spreadsheet exists. It has information on the 1567 four-year colleges in the United States that have at least 500 full-time undergraduates and are not for-profit institutions (public and not-for profit colleges only.)