Guide: MyCoalition Custom College Ranking Tool


Whether you’re considering where to apply or deciding where to attend, the free MyCoalition Custom College Ranking tool can help you determine which college or university is the best fit for you.

How? Because these rankings are created by you — based on the characteristics that you value most.

How to use the MyCoalition Custom College Ranking tool:

When the Excel spreadsheet opens, click on the “MyCoalition College Ranking” tab on the bottom of the Instructions sheet.

  1. Identify the 5 traits that are most important to you as consider college options.
    Take a few minutes and write down the features that matter most to you in a college. Here are some examples:
    • Location (Is being in or near a big city important? Do you want to be a certain distance from home? Would you like easy access to an airport or highway?)
    • Campus Life (Are you seeking a lot of social activity on campus? Do you want to live on campus in a residence hall? Is recreation and fitness important to you?)
    • Academics (Do you want an environment that is challenging? Competitive? Cooperative? Does the school offer the major you’re considering – or have an option to create your own major? Are the faculty members highly qualified and accessible?)

    The tool is pre-populated with traits, but it is designed so that you can input any 5 you’d like. Simply type your selections over the existing traits located in the top, bolded row of the table.

    Find your college fit at BigFuture by the College Board.

  2. Decide how much weight to give each of your 5 characteristics.
    Now that you’ve input the 5 traits that matter most to you, you’ll have to determine how important they are in relation to each other. For example, if you input Location and Academics, is one more important than the other? Or are they equal in your estimation? If you value Academics over Location, you may want to weigh Academics at 25% and Location at 15%.

    Do the same for all 5 traits — just make sure your weights add up to 100%.

  3. Give each of your schools a score of 1-5 for each category.
    Next, input the names of up to 7 colleges and universities you’re considering (type over “School Name” in the left column).

    Starting with the first school, move left to right across the table. For each trait, assign that school a score of 1-5 (1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest).

    For example, if you think your first school has excellent Academics (it has fantastic faculty and offers all the majors you’re considering), you might give that school a 5 in the Academics column. But if you believe that school comes up short in the Campus Life department (because it has outdated dorms or doesn’t offer activities you like), you might give it at 1 in the Campus Life column.

    Continue this way until the table is complete.

  4. Ranking program automatically measures each of your schools against the average of your schools.
    Take a look at your personalized results!

    In the “Total Weighted Score” column (on the right), the school(s) with the highest number will have the highest ranking; the score(s) will be green in color. Consider applying to or enrolling at these schools — they rank high in the characteristics you value most.

    The bottom row provides the “Overall Average” for each column. So what does this mean? You’ve given a score (1-5) for each school for each trait. This tool provides an average for each trait. You can see which school is above average (green), on target (yellow), or below average (purple) for each trait you’ve selected.

    The same is true for the “Total Weighted Score.” Now, this takes into consideration all 5 traits and the weights you’ve assigned to each trait, so this column is the one to use to compare schools. And, again, you’ll see which school is above average (green), on target (yellow), or below average (purple).

    It’s a good idea to have your parents fill this out, too. Then they can rank the schools you’re considering on the factors that matter most to them. You might be surprised by the results – and you’ll definitely have something to talk about together!



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