Jun 13, 2011

College Lists Go High-Tech

If you like Steve Antonoff’s College Finder, you’ll love InsideCollege—a website spinoff based entirely on Antonoff's hundreds of college lists.

Plugging into the power of the internet, Alloy Education took college list-making high tech and devised a search tool that even the most seasoned college admissions professionals may enjoy using.

The concept is simple. Many college guidebooks—and websites for that matter—include “too much information with too little subjective content.” These enormous tomes don’t really help readers differentiate among colleges. Narrative guides, on the other hand, feature a great deal of subjective data, but on a limited number of colleges.

College Finder is a compromise. Information is distilled to the most basic level—a series of lists including those formed by tallying opinions of experts—counselors, admissions reps, educational planners, and other industry pros. The result is a smorgasbord of opinion, statistics, and trivia, all of which can be enormously helpful in the college search process.

InsideCollege brought Antonoff’s 600 lists online, with another 100+ thrown in for good measure. The website is significantly jazzier than the original book and has a number of additional bells and whistles you may or may not find useful. But the content essentially remains true to the original list concept despite ads and invitations to sign-up for more information.

As an organizational guide, the InsideCollege lists are divided into Facts & Stats, Expert’s Choice, and User-generated lists. The website even lists most popular lists—a list of lists.

For example, within the list of “Campuses Where Movies Were Filmed” (a perennially "most popular" list) you’ll learn that True Colors was filmed on the UVa campus in 1991 and Head of State was filmed at Johns Hopkins in 2003. Or if you believe the experts, among the "colleges with the very best dorms" are American University, George Washington, and Loyola University of Maryland.

Also based on the Antonoff list-making concept is a slightly less glamorous website titled College Lists Wiki. Largely a labor of love maintained by the amazingly resourceful Shelley Krause, College Lists Wiki is free, publicly available site kept current by counselors across the country who have editorial access and can edit its content.

Although great resources, all of these lists represent the personal opinions of anonymous contributors and should only represent discrete elements of a comprehensive college search toolbox.

By the way, for the less technologically inclined, you can still buy Antonoff’s book—College Finder: Choose the School That's Right for You. It’s a wonderful reference found on the bookshelves of nearly every college advisor I know.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the shout-out and kind words, Nancy! New lists get added to the wiki all the time (most recently, a list of schools that might prove to be good options for students whose English skills are still in need of strengthening), and I'm hoping to enlist the aid of even more counselors in the coming year.