Have you ever wished that you could get information about colleges like US News does to put together its rankings? Well now you can. One of the resources I commonly use as a college admissions counselor is the common data set. For those of you not familiar with it, the common data set is a standardized set of information that many colleges use to report information to US News, Princeton Review, and those sorts of organizations. So what can you find on the common data set?
- Enrollment by racial/ethnic category
- Four year and six year graduation rates
- Freshman application and acceptance numbers broken down by men and women
- Number of students on the waiting list and number accepted from that list
- What the most important factors are for freshman admission to that college
- The 25th and 75th Percentile for SAT and ACT scores broken down by subscore
- Early decision applications and admissions numbers
- Number of students awarded financial aid and the average amount awarded
- Undergraduate class size
- Number of degrees conferred in each of the major areas
- Much, much, more
So how do you find the common data set for a particular college? Not all colleges make their information available but many do. For those who do make the data available, it is typically found on the web page for the Institutional Research office of a college. To find this department, go to the website for a college in which you have an interest, and type in “institutional research” into the search engine.
This is a great resource to really dig down into a college and find the answers to questions that you didn’t even know you had.