With nearly 4,700 U.S. colleges to choose from, there's a lot to think about as you explore job options, select a career path, and apply for college acceptance. The recent launch of LinkedIn's University Finder, a tool that reveals correlations between degrees from specific colleges and employment with popular companies across the country, adds the professional networking site to the growing list of online resources that aim to provide tools for students like you, who are deciding where to go and what to study after graduation.
Though there are pros and cons to online resources like college ranking sites, they can be helpful when their strengths and weaknesses are taken into consideration. As you move toward graduation, check out three online resources to help you determine the direction of your future.
1. University Finder allows prospective college students to input their intended college major, ideal employer, and preferred place of residence, which the tool uses to generate a list of colleges that send the most alumni into their desired career field. It's important to note that University Finder generates results based on the LinkedIn profiles of college graduates. Whether a university has 10 or 10,000 graduates with careers in a given field, alumni must set up a profile that references their alma mater and current employer in order to be included in those results. Though the tool can be an indicator of alumni loyalty and program quality, LinkedIn doesn't verify profile credentials.
2. MyPath101 is a web app that helps students pinpoint their interests and strengths in order to choose a major, build a career-friendly online identity, and begin their job search and enter the workforce. Though it's new to the national market, the web app's pilot program was so successful at the University of Pittsburgh that the school continues to recommend the program to students. Individual memberships are available on a quarterly or yearly basis for as little as $247 per year.
3. AcceptU connects college applicants with former admission counselors who have served at schools across the country. Counselors provide students with virtual support via phone, Skype, and email during the admission process. Though AcceptU offers a free 30-minute consultation, students must commit to a payment plan or pay $425 per hour for any additional assistance.
What online resources have you discovered to help with college and career planning?