Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released a new web application to help connect students with potential colleges. Referred to as a “College Scorecard,” the application provides search criteria from majors offered, to locations, to student enrollment. Once the search is initiated, the student sees different institutions along with their costs and their average salaries after graduation.
While the scorecard is a good starting point for some students, it still represents a cursory beginning to a larger process. Even The Denver Post weighed in saying, “And while no single data point may be pivotal in the ultimate selection of a school, students clearly ought to be aware of the sort of information the College Scorecard, at collegescorecard.ed.gov, provides.”
The Department of Education should be credited with amalgamating some of the data and making it accessible. However, students need to keep their options open and perform the research necessary to find the right school that fits their career goals while also fitting into their family’s budget.
When I work with my students, we start the road to college with everything on the table. We use aptitude tests and others to find strengths and opportunities for careers and majors that best fit the personalities of each individual. We also schedule and train for taking the SAT and ACT. Once all of these preconditions are met, we holistically approach finding the right fit that matches highlighted majors and test scores. As we evaluate these schools, we do more than just review the data. We look at graduate students and professors in their major and hear about student achievements and opportunities that appeal to each applicant. The culmination of all these efforts will ultimately identify the best option or options for each person.
Certainly more data is better, but having an experienced college planner in The College Store helps decipher the data and steer the student in the best direction.