dcsimg
You are here:

How to Read a School Review

Online school reviews can be a great help when picking a college, but your initial reaction might be “too much information!” After all, there are independent college guides, official college websites, and schools reviews written by students. It can be a huge task to take in so much information, let alone decide which inputs are relevant. The trick is to start with some cold hard facts–objective data that can help you narrow down your list of choices quickly and decisively.

Here some key facts to look for when gathering information from colleges or online school reviews:

  • Accreditation status. In order for your degree to carry weight in the job market, it must be from a properly-accredited institution. Accreditation status is determined by private organizations, not the government, but the U.S. Department of Education does list which accrediting agencies it deems to be reliable.
  •  

  • Average SAT/ACT scores. Compare your standardized test scores against the average for the institutions you’re considering. It’s a good idea to choose a school whose average is reasonably close to your scores–that should indicate that you have a good chance of getting in, and that you’ll find the programs neither overly challenging nor too easy.
  •  

  • Total cost after aid. Total cost of tuition (plus room and board) is important, but only after you factor in financial aid as well. You can look at the total cost after need-based aid, if you think you’ll be eligible, and/or after merit-based aid, if you think you’ll qualify for scholarship money.
  •  

  • Total number of students. Some students want the excitement of a big-time college campus, while others thrive in a smaller, more relaxed environment. Look at the number of students at the schools you are considering, and decide which type of environment suits you best.
  •  

  • Average class size. Besides considering the overall size of the school, you need to consider things like average class size and student-teacher ratio. These factors will tell you how personalized–or not–the educational experience will be. These statistics can vary greatly from department to department, so if possible try to find these numbers for the specific major you are considering, rather than for the college as a whole.
  •  

  • Transfer rate and graduation rate. Looking at these numbers will tell you how many freshmen stayed the course, compared with those who dropped out or switched to another college. Don’t be shocked to find that all colleges have a significant attrition rate, but if you see one school with much lower graduation–or higher transfer rates–than others you are considering, it may be a red flag.
  •  

  • Job placement statistics. Any school should be able to tell you what percentage of graduating seniors found jobs, and many can even tell you what the average salary of graduating seniors was. This is another area where you should try to ascertain data about the specific academic department you are considering within the school, because job placement statistics can vary widely from one major to another.
  •  

Numbers don’t lie, but they don’t always tell the whole story either. You may want to read some school reviews for more subjective judgments about the schools you consider, but you can narrow down your reading more quickly after you’ve looked at the possibilities by the numbers.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Full Sail University - Online

    Push Your Creativity To The Next Level

    Programs

    • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
    • Internet Marketing, Master of Science (Online)
    • Music Production, Bachelors of Science (Online)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Full Sail University - Online Request Info »
  • Keiser University Graduate School

    For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

    Programs

    • PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
    • Master of Science in Nursing
    • More...
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale: 1500 W. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale FL 33309
    Keiser University Graduate School Request Info »
  • Capella University

    An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.

    Programs

    • MS - Addiction Studies
    • MS - School Counseling (CACREP-accredited)
    • MSN - RN-to-MSN Diabetes Nursing (CCNE-accredited)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Capella University Request Info »
  • Ultimate Medical Academy Online

    Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers industry-relevant knowledge and training for in demand careers in healthcare.

    Programs

    • A.S. - Healthcare Information Technology
    • Diploma - Medical Administrative Assistant
    • A.S.- Health Sciences (Pharmacy Technician)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Ultimate Medical Academy Online Request Info »
  • Wilkes University

    Wilkes University’s School of Nursing offers CCNE-accredited online degrees and certificate programs ideal for working health care professionals, instructed by experienced, respected faculty dedicated to mentoring and personalized support for every student.

    Programs

    • RN to MS - Nursing Education
    • RN to MS - Nursing Informatics
    • RN to MS - Nurse Executive
    • More...
    Location:
    Wilkes Barre: 84 W South St,, Wilkes Barre PA 18701
    Wilkes University Request Info »
  • Platt College

    Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

    Programs

    • Veterinary Technology Alternate Route - Certificate
    • Respiratory Therapy
    • Veterinary Technology - Associates

    Location: Online

    Platt College Request Info »
  • Rutgers University

    Founded in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national public research university and the state’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher learning.

    Programs

    • Online Master of Social Work
    • Online Master of Business Administration
    • Online Master of Information
    • More...
    Location:
    New Brunswick: 57 U.S. 1,, New Brunswick NJ 08901
    Rutgers University Request Info »
  • Saint Xavier University

    Saint Xavier University, Chicago’s oldest Catholic university, has a long history of educating students to prepare them for professional success and lay the foundation for personal fulfillment.

    Programs

    • MSN in Clinical Leadership
    • MSN in Executive Leadership
    • MS in Finance

    Location: Online

    Saint Xavier University Request Info »
  • Independence University

    Congratulations! Your interest in Independence University is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.

    Programs

    • Business Administration (BS)
    • Business Administration - Human Resources (BS)
    • Business Management & Accounting (AAS)
    • More...
    Location:
    Salt Lake City: 4021 South 700 East, Suite #400., Salt Lake City UT 84101
    Independence University Request Info »
  • Saint Joseph's University

    Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person).

    Programs

    • Certificate of Proficiency in Autism Studies
    • BS in Liberal Studies - Professional Studies Track
    • Instructional Technology Specialist Certification
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Saint Joseph's University Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.