My college experience definitely rocked. Balancing academics and playing hard really wasn’t so difficult for me considering my friends and I were a group of passionate learners and well… let’s say we knew how to have a good time.
Of course, when I was choosing a university to go to I was receiving their information through the mail or I was visiting the university website to see what information they offered. There wasn’t one university I considered that didn’t essentially say to me, “we will change your view of the world by giving you an incredible education and after you’ve graduated, we’re going to send you off to paradise armed with a marketable degree and contacts.” Right.
Unfortunately, what didn’t exist at the time was a site like CollegeTimes. Currently in Beta, CollegeTimes is college review site populated with information by students for prospective students. Unlike other corporate backed sites who scrupulously edit entries to leave mostly positive feedback, CollegeTimes leaves the brutally honest reviews written by current college students. That is, reviews are not censored.
While currently offering reviews and its own blog, CollegeTimes also aims to include sections by which users can browse by degrees, careers, take a personality test and look up information on financial aid.
The benefit of CollegeTimes is that because it’s not backed by corporate interests (schools nor advertising), reviews are transparent and independent. Instead of feeding students into for-profit schools, CollegeTimes aims to provide the tools to prospective students so that they can make the best decision for themselves about a school.
It’s a good alternative to other modes of research for prospective students as many search tools have the aim of sending students towards regionally-unaccredited and for-profit schools instead of connecting them with colleges that best match their strengths and aspirations.
Under the “Student Reviews” section for each college, current students can rate and give up to five stars in the following categories:
- Overall Quality
- Stimulating Courses
- Quality of Professors
- Networking and Job Opps
- Area Around Campus
- Housing Situation
- Extracurricular Opps
- Teacher/Student Ratio
- Hotness Factor
On a review for one school, I read “Overall, I would have to say that this college is a big waste of your time, your money.” While brutally honest, I think most of us would agree that these kinds of reviews are useful to say the least.
The site itself is clean in design and navigation is straightforward with important links and a search box at the top of the page. The blog is a good source for information related to careers and other practical information. Current blog topics include common freshman myths, 5 common ways to spot scholarship scams, 6 Android apps for college students, and the 10 most popular art schools in America.
An added plus is that blog readers can comment on posts and weigh in with their own opinions. With readers experienced in the various areas that are being written about on the CollegeTimes blog, the input included by users is insightful and I would imagine, very helpful to prospective students.
CollegeTimes aims to create an open and trustworthy community of users looking to share information about what really matters to prospective students looking to invest time, money, and debt in their future. It’s a well thoughtout site that I wish would have existed when I was choosing schools!