Choosing a School: Comparing Schools
Here's an example of what your spreadsheet could look like. We have chosen basic data but you can list whatever criteria matter to you in the first column of the spreadsheet.
|Number of Students||1062||1100||595|
|Size of Campus||619 acres||500 acres||810 acres|
|% Students Boarding||80%||93%||92%|
|% Faculty with Advanced Degree||83%||73%||63%|
|Number of Sports||20||23||22|
|Number of Extracurricular Activities||112||89||39|
|Endowment||$850 million||$770 million||$382 million|
|Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid||48%||44%||36%|
|Admissions Deadline||January 15||February 1||January 15|
The other thing which you will begin to appreciate as you create your spreadsheet is that these are just facts. Numbers. Statistics. They really are meaningless unless you visit the schools and get a feel for what they are really like.
Nonetheless, this part of the search process is very important because it forces you to make some choices. Much as you'd like to, you simply cannot visit every school on your large, initial list. By the time your consultant looks at it and shakes her head at some of your choices, you will begin to realize that there is much more to the process of choosing the right school than just looking at the websites and glossy catalogs.
One final word of advice: start your search no later than the spring 16-18 months before admission. This is a huge project. You don't want to leave it to the last minute.
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