Find Your Perfect School or College With This Tool
Choosing the right school for your children is a big decision. From first grade kindergarten to college, we want them to live in an academically healthy environment with high quality teachers. One that offers opportunities to participate in clubs, sports and other activities. One that is diverse, safe, has a good environment and prepares them for college or after school.
However, this is a lot, especially if you are moving to a new area or want to compare this particular high school with another high school in the future. Or if your high school student is trying to narrow down his college choices. But this week I came across a site that seems to have done most of the work for us: Niche.com .
You can use Niche to compare K-12 schools and colleges, making it unique to both parent and high school seniors. You can search for the best schools and districts by state, city, government or individual, or by the best teachers, the best college preparation, and the brightest student life.
You can search for the best colleges in any number of categories: liberal arts colleges, community colleges, private universities and “top colleges” to name a few. Or you can search for the best schools by specialty, state, or academician.
The site has been surprisingly helpful in the discussion my husband and I have had since our son started at K-5: Where do we want him to go to middle and high school? His elementary school overlaps with three high schools in our district, so his friends are likely to be dispersed. And since we will probably want to move around the time he approaches high school, we could move based on school boundaries to determine where he goes if we decide we prefer one school over the other.
All schools are fairly comparable, but Niche has provided information in her analysis that can really help tip us in one direction. It pulls data from a long list of sources including the US Department of Education, US Census data, Brookings Institution, and its own parent-student surveys. Every school, district, or college also has parent, student, and teacher testimonials.
While I was at it, I decided to check out the school that is likely to be shortlisted for my son’s future colleges. This goes for academics, diversity, professors, value, location, student life, and partying. Good to know.