TITLE: Peterson's Education Center

ACCESS: http://www.petersons.com

In offering excerpts from their respected series of education directories, Peterson's Guides has created a useful web site. Designed for prospective students and potential buyers of their print and CD-ROM guidebooks, Peterson's Education Center covers private secondary schools, two and four year colleges, graduate and professional schools, and summer, study abroad, and language programs. In the job section, they are currently expanding their listings of summer camp jobs to include a much wider range of employers. As an added bonus, they give advice to prospective students and their parents and present results of their annual surveys of colleges and prep schools.

While Peterson's offers a sophisticated search engine that allows for truncation, boolean logic (and, or, not), proximity operators (near, phrase, sentence, paragraph), and features designed to take advantage of their relevance ranking engine (accrue, many), it is limited in its usefulness because it is searching narratives taken from Peterson's various print publications rather than data elements like those found in a formal database. Users might be better served using the alphabetical and geographical listings, or in the case of the college section, searching one of the web sites listed below and coming back to Peterson's to read the descriptions.

Several web sites offer search engines that complement Peterson's Education Center. CollegeView (http://www.collegeview.com/) offers the most comprehensive college database, allowing searches by field of study, location, student body size, coed vs single sex, ethnic mix, religious affiliation, athletic programs, special programs, service to the disabled, and type of college. The CollegeNET (http://www.collegenet.com/) engine search criteria include region, size of student body, tuition, major, sports, and type of college. The U.S. News & World Report's Colleges and Careers Center (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/home.htm) search engine criteria include school name, region, campus setting, school size, selectivity, majors offered and cost for the colleges that they rank.

The information about individual institutions varies at each web site and might include anything from a simple address and contact name to an in-depth description. All of these sites offer the opportunity to ask for more information or to apply for admittance. Prospective students would be well advised to search more than one site.

Peterson's Education Center is one of the premier educational directories on the web. In conjunction with the databases listed above and a visit to a college's official web site (Christina DeMello provides a good list of colleges and universities with web sites at http://www.mit.edu:8001/people/cdemello/univ.html), there is little need to refer to print resources. For those who want still more information, Peterson's makes it possible to order its print publications online in its "bookstore". Peterson's full database is also available electronically on a Silver Platter CD-ROM or on Dialog and will soon be licensed as GradSearch on the GaleNet web site.

Mark Emmons
Instruction and Information Services Coordinator
Occidental College Library

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