Monday, October 26, 2009

The Internet Guide to College Admissions!

Overwhelmed by the college application process? It seems like everyone is, and for good reason! In these tough times of academic pressures and social expectations, we at teenlink understand that you’re going through a lot in your quest to find the ultimate school and wanted to make the process just a little bit easier. Here are some college-y websites, broken down and profiled teenlink-style to benefit you and your college search to the MAX! Best of luck!

***Also, before you get carried away, a quick not about those “academic pressures and social expectations”---don’t stress out too much. Period. Seriously, whether or not you get into your “dream school”, or whether or not you even have a dream school, you’re likely going to be just fine at whichever school you end up at. And, if you’re not happy, here’s a little nugget of glorious information; you can always transfer! So, keep an open mind while filling out that online common app. And getting in those teacher recommendations and know that wherever your college search takes you, it’s your education and you can make it an amazing experience at the most unlikely of places!

If you’re still stressin’ (that’s ok, there’s a lot to think about!), remember you have your counselors and advisors at school, parents, guardians, friends, teachers, coaches, and of course TEENLINK to talk to about whatever’s on your mind with the whole finding a school process. You’re definitely not alone in your search for figuring out what that next step will be in your education! So, talk it out!


Rankings are rankings, and can be as subjective as you want to personally consider them, but they are still sometimes sorta kinda fun to check out. US News brings us rankings that include highest acceptance rate, Best liberal arts, Best engineering programs, A+ schools for B students, Up and coming schools, Academic programs to look for (such as internships or studying abroad). If you want to know how the schools are ranked, the methodology is broken down and easy to find. A quick search feature can help you narrow down which schools would be the best fit for you, including the cost and location.


If you’re on the prrrrrrrrrrrrooooooowl for a school that’s a perfect fit for you, take collegeprowler into consideration as your personal guide in determining which schools might be good options. The site is easy to use, with the ability to let you browse for schools and save them for future use, including comparing them with other schools that you prrrrrooowl into. One of the fun, most straightforward components of the site is it’s entertaining “Best and Worst” lists, which give down to earth, realistic overviews of the school. The schools are also ranked in categories including campus strictness, housing, parking, safety, transportation, weather, girls/boys, nightlife, local atmosphere, academics, campus dining (this could be much more important than the later…hehe). If you choose to create a personal account, you have the option of selecting which rating categories matter most and then get matched to schools that fit your preferences. Sweeet deal!


Brought to you by the glorious site that provides desperate, struggling (or smart and skillful, depending on how you look at it) students with Sparknotes comes “Sparkcollege,” a resource that hosts tons of articles ranging from topics such as admission, test prep, and a detailed segment on financial aid including the lingo to know and the FAFSA form. The site also shares with us detailed profiles of schools, including admissions requirements, what’s considered important factors, academics, campus life and a “students say” section. A handy component of the website is the “College Adviser Blog” with entries on everything from dropping out of band to letters of recommendation, in the format of a “Dear Abby” column.


This website (Student Review) might seem a bit strange to navigate at first, but it’s a gold mine featuring interesting articles such as “college is what you make of it, or is it?,” reviews on education quality, social life, extracurricular activities and overviews of schools. It also has helpful reviews by students which give personal accounts and opinions on various schools. The site also includes a “perceptual rankings” feature, ranking the schools in various ways based on votes by site users. The site wouldn’t be complete without a life at and after college section, as well as insider suggestions on what will get you in to a particular school! There’s no saying just how true these comments may be, but hey, we’ll take any suggestions!


A fabulously sneaky and insightful search engine that’s stacked with golden information, College Data is an amazing tool for getting started with your college search. Here’s some hints on how to use its powers for good (such as getting into a school):
  • Click on “college search” and enter in any preferences you might have in a school, or just type in the name of a school
  • The search results will come up location, student body, price, entrance difficulty and type of institution
  • Click on the name of the college, and you’re linked to more details including deadlines, the schools website, admissions, academics
  • Go to “college admissions tracker” and see student profiles of who got into where, who was deferred, who was wait-listed etc. based on where they applied and their personal profile (stalker, much?)
  • You can create an account to personalize the site and calculate your chances of getting in

TEEN LINK REMINDER: As you creep around on student profiles to see who was accepted where, remember this: don’t let a website dash your dreams of a college, the admissions process is tricky and unpredictable---you never know who’s going to be blown away by your application this year! : )


So wait, why do the people at College Board want to help us get into college? They are the company that brought us the monstrous SAT and Subject tests, right? In that case, doesn’t it seem like College Board wants to keep us from being admitted to a school? Maybe they feel they owe it to us, after making us jump through hoops to pass their “reasoning” test, to create a user-friendly site that includes everything from straightforward, customizable college searches with the find your mach feature to articles on essay skills, the application and paying for college. Well played, College Board, well played.


College Confidential is a very forum-based site with multiple “hot topic” discussions, student-to-student questions, personal inquires and more. Basically if you have any sort of question about college, you’re likely to find that it’s been asked and answered on this site. Be careful on what you choose to take to heart, as most of the material is subjective and generated by people sitting behind their computer screens, each with an individual idea of what they are talking about, whether that idea be the actual reality or not. Basically, use with caution!

Good luck, we know you'll do great!!!

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