Google College search

Google wants to help you apply to college

New search results bring up targeted details to help high school students and families learn about potential universities

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The college application experience can be a stressful time, but Google hopes to take that anxiety down a notch. Even before students get that college acceptance letter — virtual or not — they have to apply. Now, a new window along the right side of Google's search results, will now bring up basic information, from graduation and acceptance rates, to the average annual cost after financial aid about colleges they're considering.

Google just launched the new feature, culling public details from the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, and from "education researchers and nonprofit organizations, high school counselors, and admissions professionals," Google says.

While the feature is too late to help this coming fall's new crop of undergraduates, newly minted high school seniors are likely to approve. Anyone who has had to look up details like the average SAT scores of accepted freshman, or even the number of students who attend a college every year, know the process is time-consuming. Getting basic details like these — without having to drill into a school's web site — can certainly speed up that first step.

Google has made much of this boxed highlighted area that now occupies the right rail using it for stubs on famous people, major cities and countries. The tech giant is also using its AI to wade into travel bookings and even job searches.

The new college feature works on both mobile devices and desktops — although to get more robust data on a PC, like the average cost to attend a school based on a family's income, you need to click on an arrow at the bottom of the pull-out box. On mobile devices, a sliding set of tabs at the top help scan through majors, diversity of students based on race, gender and income, as well as the typical debt students carry after graduating from a school.

U.S. colleges are only featured, for now, in this new highlighted box. Search for the University of St. Andrews, McGill University or the National University of Singapore and regular results come up on the front page.

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