RealTime IT News

College Knowledge Via the World Wide Web

Student-oriented Web sites are making the grade. Sites catering to college-bound high schoolers are linking potential candidates with study guides, financial aid programs, scholarship awards and athletic opportunities to make the transition from high school to university fast, efficient and economical.

Today's high school students are more Web-savvy than ever. Students consider the Web to be the second most important resources available to them -- second only to their guidance counselors, according to a study cited by Campus Pipeline Inc., a Salt Lake City, Utah-based vendor of enterprise software to about 65 colleges and universities. The survey was conducted by the Arts & Sciences Group, a private consulting group.

And teenagers are increasingly using the Internet to assimilate and share information, as well as evaluate products to make informed purchase decisions. According to Jupiter Research, 47 million teens and kids will be online by 2005, as a result the growing integration of the Internet into the educational curriculum will be a contuing catalyst for online adoption.

No doubt, evaluating data in the college selection process is part of this estimation. More and more college applications are being completed online. Further, as Web sites set up by individual colleges and universities expand, there are complimentary locations that exist exclusively to assist students with their pre-college needs and concerns.

Here are some of the online services available to students.

Test Preparation: No doubt, the SAT/ACT exams are the starting point for the college-entry process. Online tutoring is available to assist students in achieving their highest potential scores.

For example, Advantage Education provides tutoring online or in-person.

"We keep the online tutoring on a low-tech level, so that we can work with the computer systems of all students," explained Steve Dulan, president and founder of the E. Lansing, Mich.-based service. "We use AOL Instant Messenger so that we have an interactive working environment.

"We hold online sessions for one hour at a time and offer practice tests," he said. "Our curriculum is built around actual past exams. This, combined with the methods taught by our instructors, has proven highly successful. In our feedback surveys, at least 90 percent of our students say they would recommend us to others."

Other players in the test-preparation arena include:

Matching Students and Institutions: CollegeRecruiting.com was created to connect college hopefuls with thousands of colleges and universities interested in discovering the right students, according to founder and COO Wendi Swanson.

"We simplify the process for a significant number of students who are not blue chip but who do have the ability to participate at the college level," she explained. "This site provides them with a whole new way to gain exposure and access to colleges throughout the country that they never would otherwise get."

CollegeRecruiting.com has a database with more t han 4,000 college and offers a medium for students to paint a self-portrait and present it to universities.

"We facilitate communication between schools and recruiters," noted Swanson. "We want to make sure that the kids know what is available to them. For instance, a female lacrosse player can go to our site and find out what colleges have a women's lacrosse team."

The site tailors student profi