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Stressing Over Where to Go to College?

April 08, 2018

Stressed over the college decision? Take a walk-through of Edmit's college comparsion tool to get more informed on the colleges you're considering.


Great news--your college acceptance letters have arrived! Tough news--now you have to actually decide where you’ll go to college. Whether you’re focused on academics or athletics, the cost of college or career prep, you want to pick the right school for you. And if you’re having trouble deciding where to go to college, Edmit can help!


If you haven’t yet tested out Edmit’s college comparison tool, let’s go for a quick walk-through.


Step 1: Create Your Edmit Account



Everything starts with your Edmit account and profile. In your profile, you’ll be asked to enter your GPA, SAT/ACT/PSAT scores, your home zip code, and your high school. This information enables Edmit to make informed predictions regarding both financial aid packages and potential post-degree outcomes.

Once you’re registered, you’ll be able to compare colleges and universities side by side to get a more accurate snapshot of your options.


The Edmit comparison tool is free to use, and you can save your results to return to later.

For our sample comparison here, our hypothetical student is from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the local public high school with a 3.7 GPA and an 1180 SAT score.


Step 2: Add Your Colleges and Get Your Edstimate


Add two colleges to start your comparison report (there is a maximum of five colleges in one report). Start with the Search Colleges field at the top right of your screen, then select your school from the dropdown menu. For our first sample, we’ll look at results for Gettsyburg College.




You’ll be routed to a results page with a snapshot of your selected school.






The snapshot covers the college’s sticker price, the Edstimate™ projection covering your likely scholarship and financial aid package, and your estimated net price (including both tuition and fees). You can then read on for more detail on how Edmit got to these figures, including a breakdown of the cost of attendance and historical financial aid data. There’s also a section for estimated Debt & Earnings for your selected college (covering student loan debt and average salaries after graduation), so you can get a sense of the potential return on investment for a degree from that school.


The above scenario shows the likely cost of attendance, financial aid, and outcomes for our hypothetical student if she attends Gettysburg College.


Add every school you’ve been accepted to (or, if you’re earlier in the process, those colleges you’re thinking of applying to). Each college or university will be automatically saved to your account.


Step 3: Compare Colleges


Once you’ve entered all your colleges, you can see a quick list comparing the published tuition, an Edstimate™ for each school, your actual financial aid award (if you’ve uploaded your financial aid letter), and respective net prices.


For our test case here, our potential student has been accepted at a mix of public and private colleges around the Mid-Atlantic region: American University, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Gettysburg College, Lycoming College, and Rutgers University--New Brunswick.



After you’ve added your colleges, click on the My Reports tab at the top left of your screen to see a more in-depth analysis and comparison of your potential schools.

Add the colleges you want in the report to the left of the screen:


You’ll want to add at least two colleges to run a comparison.



Once you’ve added all your schools, check out your report:



Your resulting report will have four sections: Summary, Edstimate™, Cost of Attendance, and Earnings. Click each to get an in-depth study of your selected schools.



The Summary section gives you a high level, holistic view of your schools based on overall value:



For our sample student, the Edmit comparison tool shows that Rutgers University offers the overall best relative value of the five colleges compared here, and Lycoming College has the lowest relative value. The overall relative value is based on reported earnings and career trajectories.


Next, we’ll get an Edstimate™ for our five sample schools. An Edstimate™ takes a look at which school(s) could offer the most attractive net price, based on historical financial aid data and the student’s profile:





The initial Edstimate™ summary provides context for the subsequent graphs that follow. Based on the historical data of the colleges we entered and our sample student’s personal profile (covering their test scores, high school, and zip code), the Edmit tool projects that our student has the strongest chance of successfully receiving financial aid from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Gettysburg College, Rutgers University, and Lycoming College.


For the next step, we’ll compare the cost of attendance across the five schools. Edmit factors in tuition and fees, books and supplies, and living expenses when determining a college’s cost.




For the five schools we’re comparing, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is the least expensive (sticker price) and the most affordable when it comes to net price (factoring in financial aid and the projected Edstimate™). While Gettysburg College has the most expensive sticker price of the five schools we entered, American University is projected to have the most expensive net price (once financial aid and the Edstimate™ is factored in).


Of course, the value of college is more than just net price--you may also be interested in the earning potential of a degree from a particular school. So let’s take a look at earnings.


The resulting graphs show mid-career and annual earnings for an English major at each school. You can test a variety of majors to see different career trajectories and earnings potential by field of study, or can see general results if you’re undecided.





Based on our inputs, the Edmit tool indicates Rutgers University has the strongest outcomes of the five schools in this comparison, both for highest earnings right after graduation and over the course of a career.

If you still have questions after you’ve run your report--or have anxiety about submitting a financial aid award appeal letter--don’t worry! Our college experts are ready to help. Upgrade to Edmit Plus ($99/year subscription) to get a personal consultation with the Edmit team, support with three financial aid appeals, and unlimited advanced reports (including any new upgrades). You can also subscribe to our newsletter for the latest tips and advice on paying for college.


Choosing a college can be stressful, but the more informed you are, the more confident you’ll be. We hope Edmit can help you find your best fit college!