DIY College Rankings: Where to Start

Swimmers at starting blockAs I went through the college search process with my son, I was constantly amazed at the way numbers are and are not used in the process. Everyone talks about student’s GPA, class rank, and test scores and college acceptance rates but no one seemed to know anything about their Expected Financial Contribution (EFC), four-year college graduation rates, or percentage of students receiving non-federal student loans.

So this blog is about numbers and why you might use them and when you might ignore them. It’s about keeping perspective so that families can find the best colleges that meet their needs. If you’re just starting the search the process, the following posts will help provide perspective as you start to wade deeper into the college search and admissions frenzy.

College Rankings and the Best Students
Yes, it is harder to get into the “best” colleges today.

Some Perspective on Getting Into College
Most students get into their first choice college.

College Rankings for Everyone
What statistics on acceptance to medical school can tell us about college rankings.

Are College Grad Rates “Bad Data?”
How to use college graduation rates in your college search.

Return on College Investment via Business Week
A very cool interactive graph to play with.

10 Things You Should Know About the US News Best College Rankings
Understand how the rankings are created and what they mean.

States with Highest Representation at Elite Colleges
A look at the home state of freshman at some the most competitive colleges.

Six Tips for Making a Better College Search List
How to start looking for schools when you don’t know where to start.

What to Read: The College Solution
If you read only one book on college search and admissions, this is it.

How I Created My Own College Rankings
A description of the my son’s college search process.

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