By Gabrielle Ignotis, Editor-in-Chief
As the fall semester commences, many Middlesex County College students are getting ready to
apply to four-year colleges.
If you’re anything like me, that decision is fraught with stress, worry and confusion. There are so
many factors to consider when applying to a four-year school, and I am terrified that making the
“wrong decision” will ruin my life.
Luckily, I recently found an app that mitigated some of this stress. Niche is an app that helps
users find the best school, company or neighborhood based on reviews and rigorous analysis.
However, their primary focus appears to be college searches.
Niche provides comprehensive lists of colleges in various categories, such as “Top 25 Ivy
League Competitors” or “25 Most Popular Colleges for Class of 2019.” The app also allows
users to filter their college search based on a general area of study, specific major, online
friendliness, cost, student body size and several other criteria.
Niche offers grades for each college in different categories, like academics, campus life, location
and party scene. This allows students to see a comprehensive analysis of each facet of college
Niche also provides brief descriptions of each college, with tags like “Common App Accepted”
or “SAT/ACT Optional” that make tracking colleges based on these traits easy.
The app compiles information like SAT range, ACT range, acceptance rates and application
deadlines for each college and displays it clearly. This feature made me feel much better about
my college search because I can now view all this information in one place, instead of going to
several different webpages. I also like this feature because it is very easy to check my application
deadlines and verify that I am not falling behind.
Niche offers an analysis of whether you will get into the school based on your GPA and SAT
scores. This feature is fantastic because it allows me to not only determine whether I will get into
a school, but also how well I will rank against other students if I decide to attend.
However, I don’t like that this analysis does not consider the value of transfer students. There is
no way to factor in your GPA at a two-year school or an associate degree already, which affects
your chances of getting into a school.
Niche provides monetary information, like the average price after financial aid and the
percentage of students receiving financial aid. The app even offers a net price calculator for each
college and a chart that explains the net price depending on household income.
The app also has a page of independent scholarships. I like that the criteria for each scholarship
and the deadline are clearly displayed. I also like that this feature is so easy to use. If I filter out
essay scholarships, I can apply for scholarships on my break at work or between classes.
However, I don’t like that the app has no way to view what scholarships I have already applied
for. Ideally, I would like to be able to check the status of my scholarship application.
Niche also offers articles for college guidance. The Niche staff writers cover everything from
how to fill out the FAFSA to taking a gap year. Currently, Niche’s writers are covering every
facet of going to college amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Overall, Niche is a valuable tool that makes the search for a four-year school much more
manageable. This app has been a lifesaver for me, and I would recommend it to anyone looking
to transfer after their time at MCC.