I’m always excited when I run across a new resource to help families research colleges. Today I’m happy to share a valuable one from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Today I want to spend more time sharing ways to use the site, which contains graduation statistics and other data for 3,800 institutions.
When you arrive on the College Completion site, here is what you’ll see:
Every one of colored boxes on the home page represents a school with the larger boxes representing the institutions graduating the most students who began college in 2004. Among public universities, the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana graduated the most students (6,094). New York University is the private school with the most graduates (3,821) while Valencia Community College produced the most grads (1,020) in its category.
What you will find valuable is the data provided for each school in the database. To find a school, type its name into the search box in the upper left hand corner of the home page.
University of Illinois
Here is part of what I retrieved for the University of Illinois:
The University of Illinois has a four-year grad rate (67.4%) which is superior to nearly all other public universities. As you can see from the chart, the four-year grad rate at the average state school is just 31.3%. Public universities that have a better grad rate include the University of North Carolina, University of Virginia, College of William and Mary, University of Michigan, UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley.
Illini’s six-year grad rate (84.4%) is also much higher than the national average (56%) for state schools. What I also find helpful are the grad rates broken down by types of students. The four-year grad rates for minority students at Illini is superior to the national average, which is also impressive.
College Stats in Context
College Completion allows you to compare a school’s stats in even more ways. Check out how Illinois compares to the national average in a variety of categories:
According to the above chart, Illinois is in the 97% percentile for graduation, median SAT score and student aid. The flagship is, however, quite low in the percentage of Pell Grant (low-income) students that it educates.
New York University
What I also find handy on this site is that you can compare a school with peer institutions based on such factors as grad rates and student aid. Here is a comparison of NYU’s average student aid with other institutions in New York:
NYU deservedly has a reputation for dispensing lousy financial aid packages. The chart clearly illustrates that NYU lags far behind some other well-regarded private institutions in New York state.
On College Completion, you can also form your own custom peer group when comparing stats for an individual school. After you click the custom peer link, you can add any colleges and universities that you like.
There is much more to discover on College Completion, including the ability to research schools by state, but this should get you started. The more research families do when exploring colleges, the better the odds that their teenagers will end their college searches successfully.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price.