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CollegeSelection / College Ratings 



Selecting a college to continue your education can be a bewildering process. With over 60 colleges in New Jersey alone, and thousands throughout the country, the variety of choices is immense. Raritan Valley students have transferred successfully to hundreds of colleges, including all of the Ivy League institutions.

Descriptive information about any college is easy to obtain using the many reference guides and web links (see the web link section of the Advising and Counseling Services home page for details). Choosing the college that is right for you is an important personal choice that you should consider carefully. College selection variables can include such things as:


    • Geographic location

    • Majors available

    • Admission requirements

    • Tuition and fees

      • average student debt load and "net tution" (see College Scorecard and College Navigator links below)
    • Financial aid and scholarships

    • Campus housing

    • Campus security

    • Click the link below to access campus crime statistics and security measures at colleges nationwide:

    • Programs for students with special needs

    • College enrollment

      • see UCAN Network link below for details on class size for private colleges
    • Athletics and student activities

    • Transfer credit acceptance policies

    • Academic reputation

    • Faculty/student ratio

    • Strength of support services (e.g. career services, library, counseling, internships etc.)

    • Accreditation and licensure issues

      • "Regional" accreditation for the college itself and in some cases academic program accreditation (such as business, nursing, engineering)
  1. To evaluate college choices you should carefully research each college using a variety 
    of methods:

    1. Read the college publications and examine the website.

    2. Visit the college (see CampusTours.com for a virtual tour).

    3. Attend open house programs and sit in on a class or two.

    4. Talk with informed people (e.g. current or former students, college counselors and 
      faculty members, parents, and friends).

    5. Meet with college representatives at transfer fairs.

  2. Use the Internet to research colleges - e.g.:

    • read campus newspapers to get a perspective on campus issues

    • look at campus crime statistics

    • view college placement information

    • check graduation rates and percentage of students entering graduate programs, etc.

    • US News College Search: Search the directory of over 1,400 4-year colleges

    • www.njtransfer.org the statewide transfer database

    • Use websites designed to help you compare colleges with particular emphasis on quality indicators. Three of the best of these are the UCAN-Network which displays information about private colleges nationwide, the College Navigator which is a government website with information about public and private colleges nationwide, and the College Scorecard which was introduced by President Obama at his State of the Union address on February 12, 2013. You can access these sites with the following links:

    • www.ucan-network.org



    The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation released a new website in January 2016 providing helpful tools for students considering college transfer. This site also contains information about the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship, one of the largest and most prestigious scholarships. To access this site click here


    1. Use college rating systems carefully.

    College rating systems are controversial because even the "experts" have difficulty agreeing on 
    how to rank colleges, and even if it should be done. A prudent approach in this regard is to use 
    college ratings as simply one tool to evaluate colleges. Examine several rating sources to get a 
    more balanced opinion. Here are a few of the many college rating sources available:

    • Rugg’s Recommendations on the Colleges by Frederick E. Rugg
    • The Gourman Report by the Princeton Review
    • The Insider’s Guide to the Colleges by the Yale Daily News
    • The Fiske Guide to Colleges by Edward B. Fiske
    • The Best 311 Colleges by the Princeton Review
    • America’s Best Colleges by the US News and World Report

    Other college ratings systems are available in annual editions of popular magazines (e.g. Money Magazine) as well as rating systems on the Internet. A very helpful book on college research is The Internet Guide for College Bound Students by Kenneth Hartman of the College Board. An excellent workbook for organizing the process is Your Transfer Planner: Strategic Tools and Guerilla Tactics by Carey Harbin published by Wadsworth Publishing.

  3. A noteworthy college rating system that reviews colleges worldwide is available from the Times of London Higher Ed site that can be accessed by clicking herehttp://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/

    • Many new college search and ratings systems are popping up on the Internet each day. Some of these are valid, helpful sites bases on reliable input data... but beware, some are "trojan horses", that is baiting you into believing they are legitimate tools for college selection when in reality they are marketing ploys by hyper aggressive colleges (some unaccredited, for-profit schools).
    • If you are using search engines it is suggested that you use several reliable ones especially since the search algorithms differ and because you may benefit by using a range of selection criteria. Here are a few that may be helpful:
    • Https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org
    • www.unigo.com
    • www.cappex.com
    • www.collegenet.com
    • www.transferology.com
    • www.superscholar.org


  4. Perhaps the best advice is to start the college selection process early. An important decision should not be made in haste or unduly influenced by the opinions of external sources. The transfer counselors here at RVCC are ready to help you.

  5. College Application Fee Waivers:

    Some colleges will allow you to apply without an application fee. Be sure to read the admissions website directions carefully as some colleges put instructions for obtaining a fee waiver. The National Association For College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has developed a form that transfer students can use to request an application fee waiver. To access this form click here:



    www.commonapp.orgThe Common Application is the recommended form of approximately 500 selective colleges and universities for admission to their undergraduate programs. Many of these institutions use the form exclusively. All give equal consideration to the Common Application and the college's own form.

 Information on the 14 Pennsylvania State colleges as posted in the Spring 2016 can be viewed by clicking here 

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