AcceptEdge – College Recommendation Engine to Ease the Selection Process

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acceptedgeFor many high schoolers and their parents, the college selection process and the waiting for acceptance (or refusal) can be heart-wrenching and gut turning.  Several services exist hoping to take the edge off of this process, of course, and many collegiate review sites and publications are also around.

AcceptEdge.com, however, is a little different.  It’s more like Match.com for students and colleges, finding those that would make a great pair.

The site just launched a few days ago and is still in beta.  It’s currently free to try and even links with your Facebook profile to gather some pertinent data, saving you some typing.  I tried it twice from two separate browsers (Firefox 3.5.3) and Chrome (3.0.1).  I did this because another reviewer had noted that it returned the same results for recommended schools whether you put in near-perfect academic scores or nearly bottom rung ones.  I did not have this same problem and assume it was a browser cookie or similar that caused this.

On my first try, I entered scores and information for a high-achievement high school student with a 4.0 average and scores near 800 for the SATs.  I disregarded most of the preference questions such as whether I preferred strong “Greek life” and urban or rural locations, but did state that I prefer larger campuses/schools.  I skipped the social questions about my interests and extra-curricular activities.  I received matches graded higher than 60% for seven schools.

I then went to Chrome and did the same thing, but with lower scores (3.0 GPA, 720s for SAT) and used the same criteria for preferences.  On that list, I received a list of nine schools with matches higher than 60%, only three of which were the same as the above list and none of those in the same position.  Obviously, a student with a 4.0 GPA is more likely to get into Carnegie Mellon than a student with a 3.0.

The match score, however, does not indicate your chances of getting admitted.  These are compiled using a variety of criteria including the number of AP exams you took, your weighted versus standard GPA, and so forth.  The chance of admittance (Admittance Chance score) is usually lower than your match percentage, but is often within 8%, I saw.  For no campus on my top 5 lists did my fictional students have better than a 70% chance of gaining admittance by their scoring.

Each university also has a AcceptEdge ranking that shows how often users of the site have applied for admittance to the U and what percentage of those who were recommended to apply through AcceptEdge got in.  For most schools, the site boasts an 85% or higher rating, it appears.

The “common” score the site compiles for the student is called an Edge score.  This score rates the student’s academic achievements and extras against other students to give an idea of competitiveness versus what’s already out there. This alone might be worth something to those hoping to get into the top universities that commonly have waiting lists and strict requirements for entry.

For my two cents, I would say that another score is needed: the “HTHWWATT” Score for parents.  “How the Hell Will We Afford This Tuition” Scores might help in their financial planning.

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