About the Website
This website was created in 2001 in an effort to bring free information to families and students. Dooley found a lot of information when putting his own children through college and created a discussion forum because, “No expert knows everything about every aspect of every college.” The message forums have a lot of activity, and it isn’t always accurate, but it does provide a way to learn about a college or area for free.
The message forums are:
- Any individual can register and post.
- Similar to Facebook, but it is topically organized.
- Can view by individual school, financial aid, or many other topics.
- Can be broad or very specific.
- Entirely searchable.
A big advantage is being able to connect with others. If your child is the only one planning to go away for college from their high school, they can meet other students at the school they are planning to attend. “Most colleges do a great job of putting information about their school online, but often prospective students and their parents want an unfiltered view,” notes Dooley. Parents often stick around after their child has gone on from college in order to help the newer generations.
There is a moderation team that will respond to reports and clean up the forum as needed, but overall it is very courteous and respectful to new users. “It all comes down to trying to keep a friendly, helpful atmosphere,” states Dooley.
Using the Site
Official college representatives are verified and given a special flag so you can be sure their information is accurate on the forum. Be sure to check any deadlines or definitive answers with the official college. You can also search the post history from a user to see how long they have been a member and what they post about. Use this information to judge their information appropriately.
The college search feature is called Super Match. “It is one of the features on the site I am most proud of,” says Dooley. The founders wanted to create a search tool that was different than anything else out there to help families better select a college. “Supermatch uses a different type of algorithm that meets most of your criteria,” explains Dooley.
- There are about 40 different variables you can select and organize, based on your own interests/importance that you are looking for.
- Supermatch will automatically update your college search list. This is different than other engines because it has uncommon criterion you can search, such as political leaning that might be important to you.
- The list reorganizes automatically to try and match the best overall college choice for the needs selected.
Dooley continues, “One of the real challenges in building a college list is that there are so many choices. We tend to focus on a few brand name schools. Students tend to lose track. There are many excellent schools that can give a great education.”
Informational articles are also available at the website as well as columns “Ask the Dean” written by Sally Rubenstone and “Admit This” by cofounder Dave Barry where college bound students can submit questions to be answered.
Brad Recommends College Confidential
Brad uses the website www.collegeconfidential.com with some of his own clients:
- Great search features
- Can search and sort for uncommon things such as, “Is this a party school”?
- Message boards
- Has information about specific colleges where people interested in applying or have other questions can leave messages for each other.
- Great for families that might be isolated.
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