Comparing Schools on the Internet
Since most colleges have thorough websites, the Internet is a great tool for college grazing. The problem is how to make sense out of all the information provided. Use this Site Analyzer to help you sort through college websites. Here's how to do it...
Step One: Explore websites of specific colleges that interest you. Use the College Locator to help you find sites.
Step Two: Complete a Website Analyzer for each site that you want to rate. The Analyzer has six basic categories for organizing your assessment: Campus Life; Learning Environment; Admissions; Admission Prospects; Financial Realities; and Parent Support.
Step Three: Rate each Website category using a 1 to 5 scale: 1=very poor; 2=below average; 3=average; 4=above average; 5=excellent.
Step Four: Average all six scores to give each reviewed college a rating. You can then rank your colleges based on these ratings. In order for a school to receive your application, it should have a high average.
Web Site Analyzer
College: __________________________ Location: ___________________________
Web Address: _____________________ Date Reviewed: ______________________
1. Campus Life--Score: 1 2 3 4 5 (1=very poor; 2= below average; 3= average; 4= above average; 5= excellent.)
What to Look for under Campus Life…
a. Compare the college’s stated mission, values, and goals with your own reasons for attending college
b. Consider the Location
What is the physical size of the campus?
What kind of neighborhood is it in?
Is the campus close to local activities? Churches? Recreation areas?
c. Observe the facilities
How many building make up the campus?
Is there a technology center on campus?
Are the facilities updated and comfortable
What is the size of the library?
Are labs available?
d. Review available student groups, clubs, organizations
How many clubs and organizations are available?
What does the college list as “free time” activities, both on campus and off?
Are campus jobs available?
Does the campus include student performance activities: dance, publications, theater, radio, music groups, etc?
Is community service emphasized?
Does the campus include a Greek system (fraternities and sororities?
Scan the information on residential life; does it sound good to you?
Is there off-campus housing available?
e. Check out the campus center or student center page.
What is its mission statement?
What programs are offered? What services are provided? (Note: Examine a program calendar to see what is really happening.)
f. Read the Student Affairs page
What athletic facilities are available for student use?
Does the school have safety and security programs?
2. Learning Environment--Score: 1 2 3 4 5
What to Look for under Learning Environment…
a. Check for a class, student body, student profile, or “Our Students” page (students admitted).
What information is provided about incoming students: scores, class rank, scholarships, etc?
How many rank in the top tenth of their class?
What are the median test scores of admitted students?
What awards have students received?
What is the graduation rate?
Does the college have an academic advising program?
b. Look carefully at the academic offerings and college catalog (course offerings).
Do they offer lots of opportunities in your areas of interest?
Does the college have honors programming?
How many courses are offered?
What is the average class size?
How many majors are available?
Does the school offer study abroad options or other special study opportunities?
c. Examine the information about the faculty.
Is it a prestigious faculty?
Is the emphasis on teaching?
What is the number of faculty and the gender ratio?
What is the student/faculty ration?
d. Check to see if the college offers student support services, student counseling, advising, and/or student tutoring
Does it have technology help?
Are study groups available?
Are skill development courses offered?
Can you find help with time management and study skills?
Does the school have comfortable and accessible study areas?
e. Read the college mission and goals to see if there is an emphasis on teaching
f. Look carefully at the career support opportunities.
Does the college have a Career Development Center?
Does “career development” appear in its statement of purpose, mission, or educational goals?
3. Admissions Score--1 2 3 4 5
What to Look for under Admissions…
a. Study the financial obligations
What are the yearly tuition and fees?
What are the room and board costs?
What is the average first-year financial aid award?
How many students receive financial aid?
b. Review application requirements, fees, and deadlines
Does it have a selectivity statement on their admissions page?
What are academic preparation requirements?
Can you register online?
What is the ratio of applicants and number accepted?
Does the college accept AP and other college credits earned while in high school?
What do they look for when selecting candidates?
Is an interview required?
c. Scan the application checklist
4. Based on Web information, how would you grade your admission prospects?
Score: 1 2 3 4 5
5. Based on Web information, how would you grade the financial possibilities of this college? Affordable? Score: 1 2 3 4 5
6. Based on Web information, how would you grade your parents’ support for this college?
Score: 1 2 3 4 5
The Average Score for this college is _____________________________