Higher education is more important than ever in today's knowledge-based economy, but it also can be an expensive proposition. It is essential to ask the right questions.
Are you a high school junior starting to think about where you want to attend college, or a working adult considering returning to school? Or perhaps you're a parent of a college-bound student. If you fall into any of these categories, then surely you are evaluating and comparing colleges. And you should be.
We know that the information available in college ranking magazines can be overly simplistic. And the information provided by colleges themselves can vary widely making it difficult to compare institutions. Our Just Ask! materials promote an engaged and reflective college search by letting you compare schools based on what is right for you. To help you with your research we've developed several tools:
Which College is Right for You?
Our comprehensive college guide and checklist provides a wide range of questions to choose from based on your specific situation and priorities. The questions are broken down into four categories: college costs, instructional and academic services, college and life services and campus safety. We hope you join the thousands of people who have already used this guide to find the right college for them.
- en Español
Grading the Colleges
After visiting several colleges, it can be difficult to remember all the details, which is why we have prepared the College Visit Report Card. You will grade each school on three key areas—cost, instructional and academic services, and campus life and safety—by summarizing the information you collected using the on-campus checklist in "Just Ask! Which College Is Right for You?"
By reflecting on the information you gathered using the checklist, you can decide how many points to award each school on the College Visit Report Card. Instead of asking for information from someone else, you will be asking yourself how satisfied you are with the information provided by the institution.
- en Español.
Ranking the Colleges
Don't rely on college rankings put together by strangers. Once you have completed the College Visit Report Card for each college, record the total scores on the College Ranking Sheet, which will give you a comparison snapshot of how you rated all the colleges you are considering, in each of the key areas as well as overall.
- en Español.
Our newest resource is a web app version of our college guide, report card, and ranking sheet available for free from any internet-connected device (computer, tablet, or smartphone) at whichcollege4u.org. WhichCollege4U allows users to set overall priorities for their college search, reflect on answers to specific questions, and tabulate report cards automatically based on the information they find.
"Which College is Right for You" requires a pen and WhichCollege4U requires an internet connection. Use the tool that is right for you to find a college that will invest in your success as a student.
Use these tools while on a college visit, attending a college fair, or doing research at home. You can start using them as soon as you begin considering college. Parents, counselors, and teachers are welcome to use these materials as well.
In addition, we recommend you visit the AFT Higher Education Data Center prior to any campus visit. The Data Center includes detailed information about every institution of higher education in the country, including tuition costs, types of degrees awarded, levels of student aid and more.
Just Ask! Just Tell!
- Tell your peers about these tools so they can find a college that is right for them
- Tell your teachers and school counselors what you found
- Tell the institution about the ranking you gave them and why
- Tell us your thoughts on how we can improve the Just Ask! campaign