Streamlining the college search

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ACT, SAT, tuition, housing, acceptance rate, size… All of these are factors that college-bound students must take into account when deciding which schools they want to apply to or attend.

This information can be a challenge to compile, but Caleb Kwok ’20 took up a project to address the plethora of information students must compare between colleges by organizing it into a spreadsheet.

He wanted to help fellow students who know what field they are interested in but don’t know what kind of college they want to attend. His spreadsheet is separated into tabs based off of majors and also includes one tab of Iowa colleges.

“I talked to some college students, because our family has friends over sometimes and even those college students didn’t really know what they wanted to do with their life,” Kwok said.

Kwok then thought, if high schoolers could be more informed, students would be better off.

“He put in a lot of work,” said Kaushik Raghavan ’20. “It’s a really comprehensive spreadsheet … I’m really thankful he did something like this because it’s going to help a lot of people.”

Raghavan found it especially helpful because he is a second generation immigrant, so his parents didn’t obtain their undergraduate degrees in the United States. Raghavan has been able to look at what schools have his potential major, theatre.

Rankings, public or private classification, ACT/SAT scores, acceptance rate and financial aid can be found on the spreadsheet. Kwok gathered the information of 150 colleges from U.S. NewsNiche and Princeton Review.

“A lot of it had to do with interests. Like, think about what you’re interested in and how well you can succeed in school. You don’t have to go to the top school, that’s why I put in so many different types of schools,” Kwok said.

Kwok shared his information with his British Literature class, and many students were impressed by the mass amount of information. His English teacher Kerri Barnhouse suggested that he add a column about the application process.

“What I think he did that was so unique and so personal [is] he really thought: ‘What do we really need to know? And how can we organize it in a way that would be exactly what a kid would want to know?’” said Barnhouse.

She has seen students become overwhelmed by the application process, but Barnhouse believes it will help students look at colleges in a more realistic way and make grounded decisions.

View the spreadsheet with this link.

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