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How To Research Colleges, Degree Programs, & Faculty Members

Merriam-Webster calls it, “careful or diligent search.”

“It” is what Google, Bing, Yahoo and Wikipedia give to the world: the means to quickly and conveniently gather and organize information about pretty much anything and everything.

All this data readily available at your fingertips makes it easy to gather as much information as you can about universities, their degree programs, and even their faculty.

Since you’re taking the opportunity to investigate critical details related to your back-to-college decision, we offer these six research rules to follow as you move forward.

  1. Check the rankings
    There are many different college ranking lists out there, providing all kinds of details from general information to tuition costs and application deadline dates. Start by reading the National Association for College Admission Counseling article titled “What Are College Rankings?” Then check out the different ranking lists at the bottom of that page.
  1. Read the hype
    Visit the schools own web site, and read everything they say about themselves and their degree programs. Most have instructor bios available, too, so be sure to check out faculty credentials.
  1. Get the student POV
    Visit a site like for (mostly) unbiased student reviews of college or university faculty. Keep in mind that these are individual opinion reviews. Use them to inform—not make—your decision.
  1. Plan a meet-and-greet
    Sometimes the best investigative tactic is the most obvious. Schedule a campus visit, meet with faculty and see for yourself.
  1. Ask an alumnus
    Get the real skinny from someone who’s been there. Search alumni databases or mine your own network to find a graduate. Then ask for an honest assessment of the school, degree programs or faculty. works well for connecting with alumni from specific schools.
  1. Create a comparison
    The National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator tool lets you find and compare colleges and universities. They’ll even guide you through it, step by step.

Franklin University is an accredited non-profit college founded in 1902 in Columbus, Ohio. We serve working adults all over Ohio at multiple locations, and we serve students world-wide through our online degree program offerings. If you would like to talk with us about how we can help you finish your degree, please get in touch with us right away.

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