View Schools Similar to the One You Plan to Apply To

Updated: Oct 22, 2019



Thinking about applying to a college and wondering what other schools might be a good fit as well? Parchment.com provides a free dashboard that identifies the colleges that prospective students are most likely to attend if given the opportunity. You can look through their rankings to see which schools their data suggest students would choose over others. Except for particularly strong showings from the US military academies, their results for the top schools are not radically different from those you will find on rankings from Forbes Top Colleges and US News Best Colleges. However, once you move down the list a bit, their rankings are surprising. For example, Corban University, a small, financially struggling school in Salem, Oregon ranks higher (tied at 271) on their list than Indiana University, Texas Christian University, and Southern Methodist University, all of which are highly rated schools by Forbes and US News. Hence, I wouldn't give much credence to this site's rankings. (It's also important to note that Parchment is looking at information received from a voluntary database. They don't have access to all application information at every institution of higher education.  See their methodology sidebar "How it Works" for more information about how their ranking is constructed.)


The more interesting, and perhaps more instructive, part of Parchment's dashboard on college choice is its ability to show you schools similar to the one you are interested in. For example, let's say you know you are going to apply to Westmont College, but you are curious about which other schools you should consider. Perhaps it would be helpful to know what other institutions Westmont College applicants also applied to?  Parchment uses its database of students who reported that they applied to Westmont and then identifies common schools that those same applicants also applied to. This type of information can be very helpful to a prospective student unsure about which other schools to apply to.


You can discover Westmont College's peer schools by doing the following. First, conduct a Google search using the words, "parchment westmont college." You should see a list of options appear. Click on the link that includes the terms "parchment.com/u/college" in the URL. On the page that appears, click on the applying tab under the PROFILE section. If you do this for the Current Year and scroll down the page, you will discover a Similar Colleges section that reveals that students who apply to Westmont College also apply to Point Loma Nazarene University, Biola University, Pepperdine University, California Baptist University, and California Lutheran University. Voila, you now have some helpful suggestions on other schools you might want to apply to besides Westmont College.

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