Q & A with Steve Antonoff, the originator of the college lists found on InsideCollege.com, and author of "The College Finder: Choosing the School That's Right for You" (Wintergreen Orchard House, 2008).
Why did you decide to compile all these lists?
"No one factor is all-important. Rather, it's the overall prestige, an academic program of interest, athletic strength, the social environment of the school."
What qualifies you to make these lists?
I spend many months a year visiting colleges, which I've been doing for 25 years as an educational consultant. Before that I was a dean at the University of Denver. Most of my time is spent speaking to groups around the country on college choice.
What do you think about Chicago colleges?
One of my first observations is the richness of the landscape in Chicago. [People] tend to focus on the Ivy League, or cities like Boston. But Chicago has all of these great colleges and a great environment for students. There's a wonderful rich scholarly life on the campus, and there are wonderful places to go, sports, cultural activities, etc. Chicago has many riches for a student who wants to be in higher education.
DePaul University because it's diverse scholarly with a religious heritage yet very open and accepting. Northwestern University is as good as any Ivy League school. And there is no more scholarly place in the country than the University of Chicago.Their students enjoy the life of the mind. Columbia College does a great job with more of a career focus. Wheaton College is one of the finest Christian colleges with a unique mission. The School of the Art Institute is a very under appreciated asset.There are also a number of small colleges like Lake Forest College that do a great job of connecting students with Chicago resources.
Where do the lists come from? Are they current?
The lists are constantly changing because of input on the website. When I visit a campus people notify me right away to change something. The subjective lists come from surveys of the schools, and from a random sampling of school-based counselors and educational consultants. Some information comes from databases owned by the parent company, Alloy Education. Other organizations provide lists as well.
Do students have any input?
Yes. One list of good schools for those with learning disabilities came from students who have told me about particular experiences with different schools, or things reported to counselors by students. Users can also suggest a new list, or suggest their school be added to a list right on the website.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times