Searching for College: US News and World Report

US News and World Report has a wonderfully interactive website tied to their rankings of the best colleges and universities. The rankings are extremely comprehensive, comparing schools by region, curriculum, selectivity, cost, and setting. This year, the school’s total endowment has been added to the information, as an indication of the financial security of the school, its ability to develop beyond tuition funded offerings, and openness to diversity among students.

In searching the site, a student can list criteria according to region, interest, total cost, and a number of other indicators. The matches to the student’s search indicate at a glance the total annual cost range, type of setting, size of school, and degree of selectivity. Links to websites and relevant information are provided.

My youngest son is just now beginning his college search, and this site along with collegeboard.com and Petersons.com is invaluable. Not only do the schools he has found interesting on the other sites come up in response to his criteria, but he can see where those schools rank on an assessment of quality.

US News also has a search feature for the best value, and differentiates between graduate and undergraduate searches. There are links to financial aid searches, articles on college savings plans, and guides to navigating the financial aid/scholarship process. Of particular interest to future college students is the section “Campus Voices” featuring writing by students about colleges and the college experience. These are not the usual college recruitment propaganda, but well written features about college life in general.

Visit the website here: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/rankindex_brief.php

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