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
  • Widener University

    Why Choose Widener University?

    At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Our curricula are connected to societal issues and challenge students to take social responsibility for their role in today's global society.

    Programs

    • Masters of Social Work
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Business Administration - Business Process Innovation
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Widener 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 »
  • Liberty University

    100% Online & No Standardized Testing

    Programs

    • Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
    • Doctor of Ministry: Evangelism & Church Planting
    • M.Div: Homiletics
    • More...
    Location:
    Lynchburg: 1971 University Blvd,, Lynchburg VA 24515
    Liberty University Request Info »
  • Regis College

    Regis is a leading Catholic university in greater Boston with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in the arts, sciences and health professions devoted to engage, serve and advance in a global community.

    Programs

    • Online Master of Health Administration

    Location: Online

    Regis College Request Info »
  • George Washington University

    GW's Graduate School of Education and Human Development offers online Graduate Education Master’s programs that prepare leaders like you for research, policy, and practice in the fields of teaching, leadership and administration and education technology.

    Programs

    • Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design
    • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Educational Leadership and Administration
    • Graduate Certificate in E-Learning
    • More...

    Location: Online

    George Washington University Request Info »
  • Logan University

    Logan is a non-profit university founded in 1935. Logan University has remained grounded in chiropractic education, while continuously enriching academic options with degree offerings in health sciences since 2012.

    Programs

    • Doctor of Health Professionals Education
    • Master of Science - Sports Science & Rehabilitation
    • Master of Science - Nutrition & Human Performance
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Logan University Request Info »
  • American University

    Change the World with American University

    Be a part of something bigger than yourself.

    Programs

    • Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design and Learning Analytics
    • Master of Science in Measurement & Evaluation
    • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
    • More...

    Location: Online

    American University Request Info »
  • Full Sail University - Online

    Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

    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 »
  • Georgetown University

    Georgetown University is a private, not-for-profit, accredited university located in Washington, DC. Founded in 1789 by John Carroll, Georgetown is America’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit University.

    Programs

    • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
    • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
    • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Georgetown University Request Info »
  • California University of Pennsylvania

    Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017

    Programs

    • Wellness Coaching (Master of Science) - Online
    • Dual Concentration: Performance Enhancement, Wellness Coaching (Master of Science) - Online
    • Sport Psychology (Certificate) - Online
    • More...
    Location:
    California: 250 University Ave,, California PA 15419
    California University of Pennsylvania 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.