How to Compare Colleges and Why is it such a big deal?


Comparing Graduate Schools is an important step in determining the best graduate school for you. Almost immediately after beginning the process of selecting a graduate school, you will discover that certain elements of a graduate school are critical to you.

You will almost probably want to learn a certain subject, and you may wish to have a certain specialty or research interest accessible. You may choose a specific location for personal reasons, or you may desire access to a city or region of the country that is ideal for your field. The cost and competitiveness of various programs are important considerations in the decision-making process, however, in the early stages, you should offer yourself a wide variety of possibilities in both categories. While comparing graduate schools, deciding on these fundamental needs can help you eliminate schools that do not meet the core qualities you seek.

Even after you’ve eliminated graduate schools that don’t meet your fundamental requirements, there’s still more you need to know, especially how graduate schools are assessed and ranked.

So, in order to win this puzzle of choosing the best graduate program, CollegeHippo has created a tool that you can use to compare your preferred graduate program from different universities. Using this tool you can compare graduate programs from nearly 2100+ universities. So how to use this tool? Below is the answer

Compare Grad School Using CollegeHippo’s Compare Tool

Step 1: Visit CollegeHippo.com. This will take you to the home page of the official CollegeHippo.

Step 2: On the home page click on “Find Graduate Programs” located right in the middle of the page as shown below.

Step 3: Clicking on “Find Graduate Program” will redirect you to the new page. On this page, you can search for graduate programs and accredited universities in the US. For now, we only want to compare graduate programs, so we select the first input field.

Step 4: Now start typing the program that you want to compare and this will give you the list of programs that matches with the text that you’ve provided in the text field as you type in. Once you find the program that you want to compare, click on it. For this example, I’m using “Higher Education Administration”

Step 5: After clicking on the program, you are redirected to the new page. Here you will find the list of graduate programs from different universities.

Step 6: Here, if you want to compare graduate programs from different universities, you need to check the “Compare Now” checkbox. 

Step 7: After checking all the programs that you want to compare, you need to click on the “Compare Schools” button located at the bottom of the screen.

If you’ve followed each and every step without any mistakes, then you should see the below page.

Factors To Be Consider When Choosing Graduate School

  • Accreditation: Make sure to find out what kind of accreditation your field requires if any. If the school lacks the necessary accreditation, you may run into some major issues. For example, if you attend an unaccredited law school, you may be denied the opportunity to take the state bar test – a condition for becoming a practicing lawyer!
  • Admission Standards: Most institutions publish information regarding their admission requirements, such as undergraduate GPA and standardized test results; some additionally publish the number of applications vs the number of accepted students.
  • Career Assistance: One of your primary motivations for pursuing a graduate degree is likely to be professional progression or change. As a result, you should look into the career development and placement assistance that each school offers to graduates. Even while this assistance should only account for a tiny portion of your total job search after completing your degree, it is nevertheless an important factor to consider.
  • Cost/Financial Aid: Make certain that you investigate all connected expenditures (e.g., tuition, books, fees, housing). Investigate whether financial support, such as grants, loans, and fellowships, is available for each program.
  • Culture: Find schools with cultures that complement your personality; doing so will boost your chances of success. Consult with department chairmen or faculty members to determine the degree of fit with the methodology, academic program, and department culture.
  • Faculty: The proportion of classes taught by full-time teachers is a simple and widely used metric in this field. However, look at the faculty’s repute as well. Consider faculty acclaim, professional experiences, and/or the number of academic publications, for example. Identify academics with whom you have mutual research interests and with whom you may like to collaborate for Graduate schools.
  • School Location/Surrounding Community: The value of a graduate degree is sometimes highest in the area where the school is located. Consider the location of the school as well – do you want it to be in an urban, rural, or suburban setting?
  • Physical Facilities: Check to see if the school offers the facilities you require. Assume your area of expertise is market research. You should learn about the program’s computer labs as well as its behavioral labs for activities such as focus groups.
  • Reputation/Ranking: Rankings may be a helpful sign of quality, but you should approach with caution – make sure you check the source of the rankings and comprehend what the rating is truly telling you. For example, a school may have a good overall ranking although the program you are interested in is weak.
  • Research/Academic Focus: Some graduate programs have a particular strength or concentration in one or two areas of a study. It’s a good idea to look into each program’s faculty interests and research topics. 
  • Resources: Don’t merely look at a school’s library collections while evaluating its resources. Consider “resources” to be anything that helps your graduate program, such as endowments and foundations that sponsor student research and publications.
  • Size: Obviously, you’ll want to evaluate the university’s size, which might be essential in terms of the resources available and the type of atmosphere you’re looking for. But don’t forget to consider the size of the graduate program. After all, it is where you will spend the majority of your time. Learn about the faculty/student ratios in the program.
  • State Regulations & Residency Requirements: Consider the admission requirements and prices for in-state residents vs non-residents if you are pursuing programs at state universities. If your ideal graduate program is in a state other than your own, you should consider gaining residence in that state before applying. Begin by researching the admissions procedure of the school, since the time periods required to obtain residence vary by institution and can range from 6 months to a year or more.

After you’ve done a thorough search for graduate schools that interest you, go to each university’s site, which should have links for graduate admissions, so you can learn more about their application process. When applying to graduate school, you are applying not just to a university, but also to a specific department or program. Because the department has the last say on who is accepted, the department’s website is the finest source of information on admission requirements and criteria.

To obtain more extensive program information, such as courses, instructors, prices, financial assistance, and application forms, contact departments or programs directly. Many programs provide information meetings for potential students during which they can ask questions about the program and application.

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About sally

Sally is a freelance writer and covers STEM education Maseter's program. She has been researching on universities offerings on graduate programs and has valuable insights to offer based on her experience.

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