Just because you live in Western Pennsylvania doesn’t mean it is all Pitt, Penn State, and Slippery Rock. (Mom graduated from Pitt, I graduated from Penn State, and my wife graduated from Slippery Rock, so I might have some explaining to do later.)
Those are three great schools, and one of them might be perfect for you or your child, but there are so many more to look at and compare. In fact, the more you compare the more you will comfortable with your college decision.
OK, let’s make this a manageable process. Most students attend college within a three-hour driving distance from home so, for now, let’s limit our options to within a 180-mile radius.
Here are two search engines to use to conduct such a search:
• College Board
• College Navigator
College Board search engine
The college search engine on the College Board’s website provides a tool to locate schools within a certain distance of your home. After clicking on the Location hyperlink within the site’s search engine, you can type in your zip code and request schools from 20 to 3,000 miles away.
College Navigator is a federal search engine linked to the massive database that the U.S. Department of Education maintains on colleges and universities. Unlike the College Board’s search engine, you can designate specific states to look for schools.
To select certain states via College Navigator, click on the Use Map icon on the home page that links to a map of the United States. Once you’ve pulled up the map, you can click on individual states or on any of eight geographic regions.
Both the College Board and College Navigator search engines do allow you to select schools by size. It would be easier to isolate liberal arts and baccalaureate colleges by size because most of them will be under 3,000 students, which is a search option.
Using the College Board’s search engine, you could select the “Large > 15,000” student category when searching for research universities since they tend to be the biggest institutions.
Link Schools with Majors
A search can be more productive when a teenager is interested in a particular major(s). Knowing a student’s field of interest will help narrow the possibilities. Ideally, a student should look at two potential majors since it’s more likely that one of them will stick. Many students end up switching majors in college.
Once you’ve generated ideas from looking at the U.S. News and Forbes’ lists, you can go to each school’s website and check out its academic major/minor offerings. Rather than head to a school’s website initially, it can be quicker to use any of the following three higher-ed search engines to discover the majors of a particular school. Just type in the name of a school and click the following applicable link:
• College Board (Majors & Learning Environment)
• College Navigator (Browse for Programs)
• COLLEGEdata (Academic Discipline/Major)
This is a great way to start. Soon we will work on find great value for your educational dollar.
College is a buyer’s market!
Most schools don’t meet their freshmen admission goals!
Click Here: What is your biggest concern about the college application process?
Join me, Chris Hitchens, IECA Counselor on.....
- Thursday March 7 at Jefferson Hills Library For High School Athletes, Play Sports in College: How to Get Yourself Recruited
- Thursday March 14 at Whitehall Library College Admissions 101: What Every Family Needs to Know about Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Wednesday March 20 at South Park Library Athletes and Artists: How They Both Can Follow the Same Path to Find Their Dream College
- Tuesday March 26 at Bethel Park Library Musicians, Thespians, Dancers, Cheerleaders, Majorettes, & all other Artists: Find Your Dream College
- Thursday April 11 at South Park Library College Admissions 101: What Every Family Needs to Know about Financial Aid and Scholarships
- Thursday May 2 at Baldwin Library Musicians, Thespians, Dancers, Cheerleaders, Majorettes, & all other Artists: Find Your Dream College
- Tuesday May 14 at Baldwin Library For High School Athletes, Play Sports in College: How to Get Yourself Recruited
- Saturday May 18 at Baldwin Library College Essay Workshop for Juniors
- Thursday May 23 at Baldwin Library 12 Strategies Necessary to Get Into Tier 1 Colleges, Including the Ivy League