Archive for Friday, January 30, 2009

Net Worth: College campus visits made available in cyberspace

January 30, 2009


With the economy still in its nosedive, the prospect of ponying up money for college tuition is daunting.

But what if you’re a high school senior still unsure of which school to choose? Those several trips you’d planned in the spring to visit potential campuses also cost plenty of money. Should you simply cross a few off the list and take a random stab at where you’ll spend the next four to five-and-a-half years?

A new Web site is hoping to remove some of the guesswork. introduces a way to shop for higher education online. The site boasts more than 30,000 video interviews of students taped on their respective campuses, where they discuss all facets of their college experience.

“Reviews range from the best professors to the best off-campus nightspot to a tailgating party before the big game to the cafeteria food,” the site claims. “ is absolutely the only Web site, of this magnitude and scope, to offer peer review video content on this subject matter.”

True, this isn’t just a repository for YouTube-style self-postings. The outfit actually dispatches a camera crew to hundreds of campuses to gather this material.

The New York-based site was created by Glenn Pere, who reportedly was motivated by a friend who had to cancel a golf trip in order to take his daughter to look for colleges. Pere volunteered to send his crew to the school with a list of questions, which headed back armed with several hundred interviews.

(Editorial note: A golf trip should really take a back seat to helping your child choose a college.)

So how does Kansas University fare on the site? Quite well, actually.

The KU page sports 92 video interviews from current students that are conveniently tagged with subjects ranging from professors, dorms, nightlife and Lawrence (which is misspelled as “Laurence,” incidentally). A random riffle through these testimonials points out the overwhelmingly positive feedback.

In its overview write-up, the site claims, “There aren’t many universities with a more diverse and liberal college atmosphere than you will find at KU.”

(Note II: Fellow Lawrence school Haskell Indian Nations University was not yet featured on

The site also ranks its videos in a series of entertaining Top Five Lists. Fortunately, KU didn’t end up on the Most Debt Upon Graduation list or Biggest Stoner Schools (in your face, UC-Santa Barbara). In fact, it only earned a spot in one of the categories: Great Hoop Traditions.

Kansas joined Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA as the five best basketball schools.

Come to think of it, you don’t really need a Web site to tell you that.

— Entertainment editor Jon Niccum explores facets of pop culture that have established a unique niche on the Internet in Net Worth. He can be reached at 832-7178.


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