Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂
Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to be talking about a tool anyone interested in further schooling can use. I am particularly interested in this tool because I am thinking about pursuing a second masters or a doctorate. The tool we’re looking at today will help prospective students locate a school by chosen major, zipcode, or greater geographical area. Let’s talk about Campus Explorer:
From the site: ” Whether it’s a two- or four-year school, a career college or an online program, we have figured out everything from tuition to average temperature. We also have a personalized search function that allows you to set your wish list and explore from there. We even have direct partnerships with schools to put you in touch with admissions officers. Our database today contains information on more than 6,000 schools, and counting. It’s accurate. It’s easy to use. It’s the most comprehensive directory devoted to higher education you’ll find anywhere on the web. And it’s free!”
Signing up for Campus Explorer is as easy as entering your email address and choosing a password. It was quick and easy. It should be noted that you can search the site without signing up for an account. What an account will give you, however, is the ability to save schools you have looked at and might be interested in. Otherwise, the information is still right there and accessible.
Setting up your profile is just as easy. If you’re like me, and interested in a higher level of education, you have the option to choose that from a drop down menu. If you’re getting out of high school soon there’s a section available to fill out relevant test scores like SATs and ACTs. Your profile will look something like this:
I might have to double check, but I don’t think that this site has a social web feature to it. I didn’t notice a “view my profile” button, just the ability to update it. This could indicate that the profile of any user is meant to be private and aid in the search process by adding criteria. As with most social sites, there is no link to “add friends” or search from people you may know.
Searching Campus Explorer will be the same, whether you create an account or not. I would like to walk you through the basic searching paths provided by the site. The first one that’s apparent when you click on the site is a geographic search. All searches can be launched from the homepage or from the search box in the upper right hand corner.
In the above example I conducted a search by zip code. The results are listed similarly to the results of a search engine.
You’ll notice that all types of schools are brought back in the results field. Use the drop down menu on the upper left of the screen to narrow your result by school type (i.e. 4 year, 2 year, etc.). If you would prefer to conduct your search on a larger scale, you can choose to search by geographical region.
The results will come back as they did before. One of the things that I really like about this site is the map display on the left side of the screen. You can visually associate the search results with the map. I think that this will help the search process. You can click on the map, another screen will open, and you can click on the map pegs to see which school is indicated.
Moving back to the home page, let’s talk about the other prominent search path you can take in order to locate your idea college or university. Searching by degree will help you discover schools that advertise that the specialize in a specific degree program. You’ll be able to choose from schools across the country, as long as they feature the degree program you have specified. For instance, I choose to look for Archaeology degrees, but as a testament to being careful as to what search terms you use, “archaeology” came back with zero results. I then chose to spell it conventionally, and I received results. So, watch your spelling.
The results will display in the same fashion as before.
If you have created an account, you have the ability to save chosen results. I chose to save Harvard as an example, and it appears on my “My Schools” tab.
If you are just searching, though, you can click on any of the options in order to explore the university in more depth. The page will have a profile of the school, as well as the pertinent information that you will need when making your decision. You can scroll through pictures, get an overview of the institution, as well as contact the admissions department using the links found on the school page.
Scrolling down the page will provide you with “Quick Facts” and other useful pieces of information.
If you think that you are qualified to get into the school, or you would like to receive information in the mail, links and contacts are provided.
A wonderful feature of the site is the comparison option. Once you have chosen schools that you’re interested in, you can compare them. In fact, you can compare up to four schools side-by-side.
In closing, I thought that this site was extremely easy to navigate. I thought that the search paths were straight forward, and I thought that the information provided on the school pages would all be useful in making the decision as to what school you would like to attend.
Often it’s very difficult to discover the best school for your needs. While Campus Explorer seems to be very good at searching geographically and by degree, a search to identify schools with the best online options would also be useful.
I would likely share this with any student that approached the reference desk with questions about searching for schools. It strikes me as a site that the student could explore with little help, and would provide a vast amount of information.
As always, comments and thoughts are encouraged and welcomed.