Noodle.org is a great new education website that has a college search tool. It takes a different approach to finding a great college fit through a Q & A format containing both traditional and non-traditional college search questions. First, you have to sign up to use the site. Then select College and Search from the drop-down menu or “Start a College Search” under Get Started Here.
It first asks about ACT/SAT scores, GPA and high school attended. The first interesting and unique question you will come to is, “It’s a Saturday evening on campus. What are you most likely doing?” The choices are “Making sure I can fit all the parties I want to attend into one night,” Having a dinner with a few close friends,” and “Reading a good book and finishing up homework.” Next, it asks about your ideal workload, preferred college size, region/city/state, setting, weather preference and more. You can skip any question you don’t want to answer.
After you finish the questions, you will see college profiles shown on the right side of the screen, ranked according to “fit” for you. Fit is ranked from a high of 10 to a low of 1. For my daughter, her highest fit was a 7, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t hit a 9 or 10. In most cases, there will not be a “perfect fit.” If you click on one of the college profiles, you will be taken to a nice information page with lots of statistics and useful information for the school. I like that it gives you a breakdown on the right side of the screen of why a school was considered a great, good, fair or bad fit for you. You can also plug in the name of any college in the search box and that school’s profile will be shown, including what kind of fit Noodle judged that the school would be for you.
While I think that this is a really fun and fresh college search tool, I do think you have to take the “fit” recommendations lightly. Most of the high fit recommendations that the tool came up with for my daughter were great schools, but ones we had already ruled out for various reasons. This leads me to the biggest limitation I have found in the Noodle college search tool. Even though you plug in answers to all the questions, you can’t indicate how important something is. For example, if you say you prefer medium-sized schools, the tool will still give you high matches that are huge schools or very small schools. There are other tools out there that allow you to indicate the level of importance for the criteria you set.
Noodle was not available when we first started my daughter’s college search. If it had been, we may have gone in a different direction. The school my daughter ultimately chose was rated a 1 (bad fit) for her. I hope that doesn’t turn out to be the case!