Do It Yourself College Rankings

It Takes More Than Rankings to Find Good Colleges

Face looking from laptop for a good collegeWhy? Because it all depends on how you define “good” colleges.

And that’s the problem. How do you know what makes a college “good?” Is it the college where the good students go? After all, the colleges that admit only a small percentage of students with high GPAs and college test scores are the ones that show up at the top of the college rankings. But does that mean the school is good because it admits good students or do good students go there because it is a good college?

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Looking for a list of colleges that…?

woman looking at a list of colleges on a camputerIf you’re planning to create a college list, take a look at some existing lists before starting. It’s possible that you’ll find a couple that can save you a lot of time. If nothing else, a quick perusal might generate some new ideas or bring up some issues you hadn’t considered. Best of all-most of the lists are free.

This is will be an on-going project so be sure to check back for updates.

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Best Way to Answer Coaches Asking What Other Schools Are Recruiting You

truth behind torn paperOnce again honesty is the best policy. When coaches ask what other schools are recruiting you, just name the schools. There are actually two ways to be dishonest in answering the question. The first is to not tell which schools are recruiting you and the second is to lie about which ones are. Understanding why you shouldn’t do the former explains why some are tempted to do the latter.

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Where to Find the Best Scholarships

kittens trying to find the best scholarshipsSometime during their senior year in high school, students will start receiving notices from the counseling office on tips on how to find scholarships and news about the various available college scholarships. These scholarships will probably range in the $250 to $1,000 range with a few hitting $5,000. They’ll be encouraged to start using the different scholarship search websites so that they won’t have to take out student loans. By January, they’ll hear that if only they would get organized and be persistent in their scholarship search, they can take advantage of all the college scholarships out there that haven’t been taken because no one applied.

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You Can’t Get Merit Scholarships From a College You Never Apply To

hand rejecting bag of money representing applying to colleges without generous merit aidIn a previous post, I defined Expected Family Contribution (EFC), how it works theoretically, and what happens in the real world. For many families, the difference between theory and practice is irrelevant since their EFC is much higher than their actual ability to pay. There are steps that you can take to reduce your EFC, and you should definitely do so if you have the opportunity. However, the fact is that you’re likely to do more to cut the cost of college by targeting the right schools for merit scholarships than by trying to rearrange your finances.

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How to Find Student-Athlete Graduation Rates

The NCAA has a public service announcement stating that most of their athletes go pro in something other than sports. They actually provide a table with the probability of competing beyond high school and the percentage who actually make it to the professional level. Given this information, any sensible athlete should pay serious attention to the student part of “student-athletes.”

One thing prospective student-athletes should take a look at is the graduation rate for the schools they’re interested in and compare the graduation rate for their sport. It’s not hard to do.

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