The traditional method of choosing college usually involved meeting with your designated college counselor, buying the “Fiske Guide to Colleges” book, or visiting a campus. However, today one third of students do most of their college research on mobile phones, and two thirds of high school juniors and seniors are using a college planning website to help them find their dream school.
The college application process can be a daunting and overwhelming. While high schools do have college counselors, very few students receive much counseling due to the fact that the average public high-school counselor works with at least 490 students. Thus, there has been a surge of free websites and mobile apps are that are trying to help students in their college decision making process. David Hawkins, a senior executive at the National Association for College Admission Counseling says that these apps and websites can “help students consider more choices, including little-known colleges that may have a lot to offer.”
The iOS app Addmittedly, for example, gives fun quizzes that help users identify ideal types of schools for them. From these quizzes, users will get a customized list of schools for them with each school categorized as “Reach, Target, or Safer school” based on the user’s academic profile. In addition, users have access to over 200 lessons on topics like how to write a college admission essay and how many times students are able to take the SATs. The idea behind Admittedly is that all students should have access to free college college prep tools that can help them get into the school of their dreams.
Other examples include the mobile app named The College Fair that launched in 2016 and has been downloaded 1.2 million times. This app has six coaches who chat online with students. One coach, Jadelin Felipe, had 11 years in university admissions. Bigfuture is a website by The College Board, that has tools that link students interests with potential colleges and majors. In addition, a website named Niche posts Yelp like college reviews and rankings where students can ask honest questions like “How hard is this school, really?”
Websites and apps are changing the way that students are making decisions about where to apply to college. It will be interesting to see how well these apps and websites are able to actually align students with their dream schools.
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