RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS APPLYING TO COLLEGE

Note: If links on this page are broken, please let me know via my contact page. I’ll check them and make sure they are removed or changed if needed. Sometimes a different browser or machine (phone vs. computer, for example) will lead to different results. If links really don’t work, try searching for articles you want to read using the reference info here. Links often change but titles and publishers shouldn’t.

The resources below include blogs written by Dr. Weed, articles he has found about things like preparing to apply, choosing colleges, writing strong personal statements, making college affordable and worth your investment, the college environment, and more. All of the articles not by Dr. Weed are the author’s property. They represent the author’s views, not necessarily those of Dr. Weed.

Generally useful tools and websites: Free Application for Federal Student Aid​​

​​

Note: Search your app store for apps that will let you apply from your phone. American students should fill this out as soon after October 1 as possible in order to get access to tens of billions in Federal Student Aid. Filling it out late may keep you from accessing this invaluable source of money to help you get your degree. The FAFSA Forecaster can help you predict how much college may cost you.​​​

“MyinTuition" is a net price calculator that can help you estimate the net price of more than 50 selective and highly selective schools such as Brown, Bowdoin, Caltech, Colorado College, Emory, Harvard, Macalester College, Rice, Stanford and Yale. Search “net price calculator” and the name of the school you’re considering to find a tool that will help you get a sense for what the “net price” of a degree will be to you after financial aid is factored in. Most campuses have them.​

The Common Data Set Initiative is the tool many schools use to respond to surveys from places like US News for its rankings. Data across schools does not appear to be collected in one place but you can see the questions campuses are expected to respond to here. If you want school specific data, google “common data set” and then the name of the school you’re interested in. They often have the data posted on their websites but not all campuses will. Search the data for everything from faculty to student ratio to the average number of students in the classes you’ll attend if admitted to that school.​

The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook https://www.bls.gov/ooh/home.htm is a searchable tool that  tracks hundreds of job types in the US. It has data on the expected number of positions in hundreds of areas from journalism and secondary education to graphic design and nursing for example. what current salary is like in those fields, the work people in the jobs you ask about do, and expected trends in the number of positions in the areas you search for from now to 2028.


The US Department of Education’s College Scorecard https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/ is a potentially useful, but controversial, resource with data on how graduates from thousands of colleges do IN THEIR FIRST POSITION after completing their degrees. Data can be searched by college, major, debt incurred at each school, and more. Many feel because the scorecard focuses only on the first position after graduation, https://thehill.com/opinion/education/473394-new-college-scorecard-still-has-madness-in-its-method it is biased in some respects and may undervalue degrees not in STEM fields over a graduate’s full career. Research The Scorecard’s strengths and flaws before use.

 

Essays on Choosing Colleges, Getting Recommendations, and Writing Statements from Dr. Weed​​​

 

Please read any article you open fully, as with any piece from the press, the headline can be somewhat misleading.​

Note: None of these articles following this point are by me and you should not take them as the only possible paths to managing your college costs and maximizing the value of your degree. Speak with your financial aid office, your high-school counselor, and/or experts in college finance for advice that will be tailored to your particular situation.

Articles on Efforts to Make College More Affordable

Note: None of these articles are by me.

***Articles added since June 15, 2021.***

“California High School Seniors Will Soon Be Required To Apply For Financial Aid For College,” LAist: July
16, 2021.
https://laist.com/news/education/fafsa-requirement-california-high-school-seniors-graduation

“College Aid Process Simplified To Boost Enrollment Rates, Education Department Says,” Forbes: July 13,
2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberleespeakman/2021/07/13/college-aid-process-simplified-to-
boost-enrollment-rates-education-department-says/?sh=4f492746c713

“U.S. Department of Education Announces Temporary Changes to the Federal Aid Verification Process
for the 2021-22 Award Year,” The United States Department of Education: July 13, 2021.
https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-announces-temporary-changes-
federal-aid-verification-process-2021-22-award-year
Note: There’s a lot of potentially helpful information on the Federal Aid Verification process and other
DoE policies in this press release.

“California State University Gives Apple Products to Freshmen,” Mac Observer: July 12, 2021.
https://www.macobserver.com/news/csu-csuccess-program/

“Wilberforce Becomes Latest University To Offer Tuition Reduction. It May Not be The Last.,” Forbes:
June 28, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2021/06/26/wilberforce-becomes-latest-university-to-
offer-major-tuition-discount/?sh=47b3646f1ff7
Note: This article mentions several other universities that have reduced tuition at least temporarily.

Articles on The Cost of College, paying for it, and Making it More Affordable

Note: As is true in other segments of this list of pieces, none of these articles are by me. You should not
take them as the only possible paths to managing your college costs and maximizing the value of your
degree. Speak with your financial aid office, your high-school counselor, and/or experts in college
finance for advice that is tailored to your particular needs.
***Articles added since June 15, 2021.***
“Headed Away to School? Here’s What Students With Health Issues Need to Know,” Kaiser Health News:
Aug 24, 2021.
https://khn.org/news/article/headed-away-to-school-heres-what-students-with-health-issues-need-to-
know/?utm_campaign=KHN%3A%20First%20Edition&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=152324773&_hsenc=
p2ANqtz-
_3Pk5uHzyqGzkWxX083Mw301IyCrHAwb3a0CC7PFGwhe47J3EObIL6xGMdHE98qER3j8aNsvv70vBW2S7
55j0Sd3-o0pwjhRhG1ulfnInPuV4xUo0&utm_content=152324773&utm_source=hs_email

“Colleges help students apply for food stamps, as rules ease,” Cal Matters: Aug 18, 2021.
https://calmatters.org/education/higher-education/college-beat-higher-education/2021/08/food-
stamps-college-students/

“10 Tips to Help You Pay for College This Fall,” Money: Aug 20, 2021.
https://money.com/tips-pay-college-bills-now/?xid=applenews

“Soaring Home Values Could Lower Your College Student's Financial Aid Package,” Money: Aug 13, 2021.
https://money.com/college-financial-aid-home-equity/?xid=applenews

“Can you use your college student loans for living expenses?,” CNBC: Aug 8, 2021.
https://www.cnbc.com/select/can-you-use-student-loans-for-living-expenses/

“12 Ways to Save on College Expenses From a Recent College Graduate ,” Real Simple: July 23, 2021.
https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/money/saving/save-on-college-expenses

“University Of California Raises Tuition For First Time Since 2017,” Forbes: July 22, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2021/07/22/university-of-california-raises-tuition-for-
first-time-since-2017/?sh=66a66541709d

“How to Pay for College When Your Family Makes Too Much Money to Qualify for Financial Aid,”
Money: July 21, 2021.
https://money.com/pay-for-college-without-financial-aid/?xid=applenews

“How To Save Big On College Textbooks This Year,” Forbes: July 21, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertfarrington/2021/07/21/how-to-save-big-on-college-textbooks-
this-year/?sh=757a33d9982e

“Dorm Costs Have Soared, but Many Freshmen Have No Choice,” Nerd Wallet via The Entpreneur: July
21, 2021.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/377989
Note: As a former university administrator I strongly encourage a year in the dorms for a variety of
reasons but this piece is well researched where costs are concerned.

“50 Colleges Where Parents Take Out the Biggest Loans to Pay Tuition,” Newsweek: July 21, 2021.
https://www.newsweek.com/2021/07/30/50-colleges-where-parents-take-out-biggest-loans-pay-
tuition-1609557.html

“Missouri governor ends limits on college tuition increases,” KMBC TV: July 13, 2021.
https://www.kmbc.com/article/missouri-governor-to-end-limits-on-college-tuition-increases/37016547

“Starting college in the fall? How to decide the right amount to borrow,” CNBC: July 7, 2021.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/07/what-students-starting-college-should-know-about-student-loans-
.html

“Students, parents leave billions of dollars on the table by failing to file a FAFSA,” CNBC: June 28, 2021.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/28/the-fafsa-deadline-for-college-financial-aid-is-june-30.html

“Which Are The Most Generous And Prestigious Scholarships And Fellowships?,” Forbes: June 23, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/markkantrowitz/2021/06/23/which-are-the-most-generous-and-
prestigious-scholarships-and-fellowships/?sh=7920bcbd465a

“How to Save Money on College Tuition,” Real Simple: June 15, 2021.
https://www.realsimple.com/work-life/money/saving/save-money-on-college

*********The articles above were added since June 15, 2021******

“College tuition is up 33% since 2000: How to cope with rising costs,” Fox Business: June 8, 2021.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/money/college-tuition-costs-rising-how-to-pay-for-college
Note: There are pointers to lots of useful resources in this article.

“What is a 3-year college degree program and how much does it cost?” Fox business: Jun 4, 2021.
https://www.foxbusiness.com/money/3-year-college-degree-program-what-is-cost

Articles on The College Search and Admissions Process

Note: As elsewhere in the media section of this page, these articles are not by me. Please read them
thoroughly, do not depend on just the headline for the take home message as there are nuances and
details throughout many of these pieces.

*****Articles added after June 15.*******

“College Admissions Tips for High School Students and Parents,” Your Teen: Aug 5, 2021.
https://yourteenmag.com/teens-college/admissions/college-admissions-tips
Note: This points to some potentially useful resources for teens and parents that may be helpful as early
as first year of high-school.

“How do I fill out a college application? Common App tips in COVID times,” USA Today: Aug 1, 2021.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2021/08/01/how-do-fill-out-college-application-
class-2022/5388296001/

“Why American High School Students Are Flocking to European Colleges,” Observer: July 17, 2021.
https://observer.com/2021/07/us-high-school-graduate-attend-europe-university-trend/

“Illinois Passes Law Requiring Its Public Universities To Use Test Optional Admissions,” Forbes: July 11,
2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2021/07/11/illinois-passes-law-requiring-its-public-
universities-to-use-test-optional-admissions/?sh=55a4581325aa

“College applications pour in because of optional ACT, SAT test scores amid COVID-19,” USA Today: June
25, 2021.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2021/06/25/common-app-hbcu-college-application-
test-score-optional/5310479001/

“Planning to study in the US? Here’s what you should know about the common application,” the South
China Morning Post: June 22, 2021.
https://www.scmp.com/yp/discover/lifestyle/article/3138307/planning-study-us-heres-what-you-
should-know-about-common

“How test-optional policies are changing college admissions in Washington,” The Seattle Times: June 20,
2021.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/how-test-optional-policies-are-changing-college-
admissions-in-washington/

“5 Ways To Find Right-Fit Colleges,” Forbes: June 17, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanpaterno/2021/06/17/5-ways-to-find-right-fit-
colleges/?sh=1a1195715353

*****to Warren: Articles below this line are from before I sent you this document last*****

“UNC System won’t require SAT or ACT test scores in fall 2022,” The Raleigh News & Observer: May 27,
2021.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article251718393.html

Pieces on the Campus Environment

“Cal State schools, including Sac State, confront courses with high failure, withdrawal rates,” The
Sacramento Bee: Aug 20, 2021.
https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article253635418.html
Note: this piece is about efforts to improve student success so take the headline with care.

“How Diverse Are the 10 Most Selective Universities?,” Newsweek: Aug 21, 2021.
https://www.newsweek.com/how-diverse-are-10-most-selective-universities-1621411

“Academic Institutions Must Do Better to Protect Caregivers This Fall - Scientific American: Aug 18, 2021.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/academic-institutions-must-do-better-to-protect-
caregivers-this-fall/
“University of California vowing more equity, transparency in campus policing,” The Hill: Aug 19, 2021.
https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/568535-university-of-california-vowing-more-equity-
transparency-in-campus

“What Do We Know About Hispanic Serving Institutions?,” Forbes: Aug 15, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/marybethgasman/2021/08/16/what-do-we-know-about-hispanic-
serving-institutions/?sh=68e947d672a6

*****”US Women's Colleges Seen as Incubators for Independence,” VOANews: April 20, 2020.
https://www.voanews.com/student-union/us-womens-colleges-seen-incubators-independence

****”A Guide to Women's Colleges,” US News and World Report: May 18, 2021.
https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/a-guide-to-womens-colleges

*****”Historically Black Colleges Finally Get the Spotlight,” The New York Times: Jul 18, 2021.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/18/us/hbcu-colleges-universities.html

“Some colleges ease up on pushing undergrads into picking majors right away,” The Hechinger Report:
July 23, 2021.
https://hechingerreport.org/some-colleges-ease-up-on-pushing-undergrads-into-picking-majors-right-
away/

“What Colleges Are Doing To Bring Back Black And Latino Male Students,” LAist: Jul 3, 2021.
https://laist.com/news/education/what-colleges-are-doing-to-bring-back-black-and-latino-male-
students

“As Students Return To Campus, Colleges Are Struggling To House Them,” Forbes: Jul 1, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/madisonfernandez/2021/07/01/as-students-return-to-campus-colleges-
are-struggling-to-house-them/?sh=4ce561af4d65

“State university faculty, students to be surveyed on beliefs,” the Tampa Bay Times: June 23, 2021.
https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2021/06/22/state-university-faculty-students-to-be-
surveyed-on-beliefs/#

“More Universities Approve Record New Budgets, $15-An-Hour Minimum Wage For FY 2022,” Forbes:
June 20, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2021/06/20/public-universities-are-approving-record-
new-budgets-15-an-hour-minimum-wage-for-fy-2022/?sh=7850c94f613c

****Articles added after June 15, 2021.

“New website tracks which colleges will use eproctoring software this fall,” the Verge: June 16, 2021.
https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/16/22535439/ban-eproctoring-fight-for-the-future-colleges-online-
tests

***Articles added before June 15, 2021.*****

“Private colleges across America can't pay their bills,” Axios: June 14, 2021.
https://www.axios.com/higher-education-debt-restructuring-8f67deab-a80c-4049-95a6-
f5a147c1a87b.html
Note: Don’t focus too much on the headline alone, read the article as there’s a lot of useful perspective
here.

[perspective]” It’s time for an overhaul of academic freedom,” The Washington Post: [possible paywall]
June 9, 2021.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/06/09/its-time-an-overhaul-academic-freedom/
Note: Lots of interesting material on academic tenure, who has it and who doesn’t among campus
faculty.

“College towns felt ignored by universities and resented the students. Then COVID-19 hit.,” USA Today:
Jun 6, 2021.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2021/06/06/covid-rate-college-town-
mayors/7534164002/

“Colorado ends 'legacy admissions' for [public] higher education,” ABC News: May 25, 2021.
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/colorado-ends-legacy-admissions-higher-education-
77902768

Articles on Why Investing in Going to College is a Good Idea

“Skip college? Not if you want to make more money,” ABC News: July 14, 2021.
https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/wireStory/skip-college-make-money-78836246

“The value of your education,” Ladders: June 7, 2021.
https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/the-value-of-your-education,

Articles that may help you maximize your Return on Your Investment in Your Degree

Note: None of these articles are by me. They contain information that may help you maximize the
returns on the effort and money you put into earning your degree. For some articles, it may be
necessary to look at the methodology the authors use to determine if it makes sense in your
circumstances.

“These college majors have the best return on investment, according to a new report,” CNBC: Aug 18,
2021.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/19/these-college-majors-have-the-best-return-on-investment.html

“Which College Programs Give Students the Best Bang for Their Buck?,” Third Way: Aug 13, 2021.
https://www.thirdway.org/report/which-college-programs-give-students-the-best-bang-for-their-buck

“4 ways college students can make the most of their college library,” The Conversation: Aug 11, 2021.

https://theconversation.com/4-ways-college-students-can-make-the-most-of-their-college-library-
163790

“Colorado will allow four-year colleges to grant associates degrees to those who dropped out. Will more
students go back for a bachelor’s?,” Chalkbeat: July 26, 2021.
https://co.chalkbeat.org/2021/7/26/22595162/colorado-law-allows-universities-grant-dropout-
students-associates-degree

“5 Tips For College Freshman To Help Maximize Year One,” Forbes: July 6, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertfarrington/2021/07/06/5-tips-for-college-freshman-to-help-
maximize-year-one/?sh=5cffe69f3ac8

“Busting The Myth Of The Perfect-Fit College,” Forbes: June 15, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanpaterno/2021/06/15/busting-the-myth-of-the-perfect-fit-
college/?sh=4e039dca6398

“BS/MD Admission Insights From The 2020-2021 Cycle,” Forbes: June 10, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristenmoon/2021/06/10/bsmd-admission-insights-from-the-2020-2021-
cycle/?sh=26cb450c7950

Resources:

“Headed Away to School? Here’s What Students With Health Issues Need to Know,” Kaiser Health News:
Aug 24, 2021.
https://khn.org/news/article/headed-away-to-school-heres-what-students-with-health-issues-need-to-
know/?utm_campaign=KHN%3A%20First%20Edition&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=152324773&_hsenc=
p2ANqtz-
_3Pk5uHzyqGzkWxX083Mw301IyCrHAwb3a0CC7PFGwhe47J3EObIL6xGMdHE98qER3j8aNsvv70vBW2S7
55j0Sd3-o0pwjhRhG1ulfnInPuV4xUo0&utm_content=152324773&utm_source=hs_email

“Which College Programs Give Students the Best Bang for Their Buck?,” Third Way: Aug 13, 2021.

https://www.thirdway.org/report/which-college-programs-give-students-the-best-bang-for-their-buck

Note: All of these resources come from external sources. Whether college rankings, or information from
the US Government etc, none are by me.

Rankings:

Please note: In all cases with Rankings you should review their methodology to see if the factors used by
those making the rankings are important to you. In some cases the parts of a college that are seen as
important by whatever group is doing the rankings may be more or less important to you than they are
to the group doing the ranking.

****added after June 15, 2021.****

“25 East Coast Private Colleges Whose Grads Earn the Least Money,” Newsweek: Aug 7,2021.
https://www.newsweek.com/east-coast-private-colleges-grads-earn-least-money-1615188

[opinion]“College rankings have made school less affordable, less equitable, and more miserable for
students. The pandemic exposed just how broken the system is.,” Business Insider: July 22, 2021.
https://www.businessinsider.com/why-college-rankings-are-bad-for-students-2021-7

“25 Private Colleges Whose Graduates go on to Earn the Least Money,” Newsweek: July 15, 2021.
https://www.newsweek.com/private-college-graduates-earn-least-money-1608593

“25 Private Colleges Whose Graduates go on to Earn the Most Money,” Newsweek: July 11, 2021.
https://www.newsweek.com/private-colleges-university-graduates-earn-most-money-1607825

“The Best Private College in Every State with the Most Bang for Your Buck,” Stacker News via Newsweek:
June 16, 2021.
https://www.newsweek.com/best-private-college-every-state-most-bang-your-buck-1601276

“The 2021 Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges rankings are out. Is your school on the list?,” The
Military Times: June 15, 2021.
https://www.militarytimes.com/education-transition/2021/06/15/the-2021-military-times-best-for-
vets-colleges-rankings-are-out-is-your-school-on-the-
list/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EBB%206.16.21&utm_term=Editorial%
20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief

****added before June 15, 2021.****

The QS Quancquarelli World University Rankings for 2022. From QS: Early June 2021.

Commentary on changes in the QS rankings: “U.S. Universities Slip In An Influential World Ranking,”
Forbes: June 8, 2021.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaeltnietzel/2021/06/08/us-universities-slip-in-an-influential-world-
ranking/?sh=2e8335f45589

“How to Game the College Rankings,” Boston Magazine: Aug 26, 2014.
https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2014/08/26/how-northeastern-gamed-the-college-rankings/
Note: A potentially valuable read for anyone using college rankings to determine which colleges they
may want to apply to.

General Resources

Articles on Efforts to Make College More Affordable​

Articles about the cost and affordability of college

 

The College Search and Admissions Process

The campus environment and your college choice

June 9, 2021.

Writing personal statements​​

Articles that may help you maximize the return on investment in your degree​

 

​Rankings

Note: Please be sure to review the methodologies used in the resources and rankings below as the authors’/organizations’ priorities may not always match yours.

Older, but very helpful articles; Financial aid: