Wither the college guidance counselor, that beleaguered tracker of student transcripts, entrusted to match hundreds of high school kids each year with a higher education?
Their caseloads are, on average, nearly double the recommended rate of 250 students per counselor. (In Washington, it’s 510-to-1.)
And much of the time, they’re tasked with a host of other duties – everything from clerical work to fundraising and crisis control. A report by education professor Patricia McDonough at UCLA found that they offer average high school student about 38 minutes of college advising per year.
Not surprisingly, a wave of websites and apps has flooded the void, purporting to aid students in their search. But weeding through the options can be an exhausting time waste for students and their parents.
So on Thursday, the Get Schooled Foundation, a national nonprofit working to inspire more kids to go to college, released its review of 200 such tools, rating them for quality of information, user experience and cost – with a particular focus on their usefulness to low-income students.
“The sites and digital tools available… vary considerably in quality,” notes the report, and while some offer very effective support, others dump out an overwhelming amount of information. For example, only one scholarship site, Find Tuition, matches students with state grant opportunities as well as private scholarships.
Get Schooled used two Stanford University researchers to develop its findings, and they selected as standouts Khan Academy for homework help; Cappex and Naviance for the college application process. Check out the full list here. (The ratings start on page 10.)