MEFA Pathway

Learn How to Compare Colleges with MEFA Pathway

Learn how to use the MEFA Pathway College Compare tool to compare schools on features such as size, setting, graduation rate, in-state vs. out-of-state tuition, total cost of attendance, and GPA of incoming freshmen.
Teenage girl comparing colleges with MEFA Pathway

Attention high school juniors! Are you struggling with solidifying a list of colleges to apply to? Understandably it can be overwhelming, considering there are over 7,000 undergraduate schools offered throughout the United States. On average, students apply to 6-8 schools, which generally ensures that they will be admitted to a suitable institution. The final list should consist of a combination of reach, target, and probable schools, based upon the demographics of each school's average accepted student, which you can find on every college's website.

I'm a mother to a high school junior, and my son and I are in the throes of building out a list of potential schools that may be a good match for him based upon academics, finances, and the type of school where he would thrive. Luckily we've had the opportunity to visit a handful of schools and found the tours to be a valuable way to gauge whether or not the school may match his preferences. College applications are expensive, and making an informed decision of where to apply is important. Luckily, finding and comparing schools is made easy using MEFA Pathway, the free college and career planning resource for Massachusetts students. It is certainly helping us!

MEFA Pathway's College Compare tool is one of the many features within the site that enables students to quickly learn the key elements about different colleges and universities and compare them against one another. Students can only attend one college or university, and making that decision can be difficult. Common questions that may influence the college selection are: What is the graduation or completion rate of a school? What is the in-state vs. out-of-state tuition? What is the estimated total cost of the school? What is the high school GPA of incoming freshmen? To have the ability to view this information in a side-by-side comparison for up to five schools allows students an easier way to make a good choice regarding post-secondary education. Students can do this in MEFA Pathway!

To use the MEFA Pathway College Compare tool, students can follow these steps:

  • Go to and select I am a Student
  • Click Register Here and complete the registration process
  • Once within MEFA Pathway, under the Search Colleges tab, go to College Compare
  • Choose colleges to compare by selecting schools from your College List, browsing all colleges, and/or searching by the college's name
  • Select college criteria to compare (key factors, undergraduate info, financial info, and/or academic info)
  • Select the option to either use your preferences on certain categories or ignore them. Preferences include test score range, GPA, tuition, size, setting, and admission difficulty. You can click the SET/EDIT MY PREFERENCES button to review or change your preferences
  • Click SHOW COMPARISON and you'll be presented with a chart similar to the one here:MEFA Pathway college comparison chart

If an area on the comparison is highlighted in red, it means the student's saved preferences do not match up with the school's criteria or requirements. For academic criteria, this could help a student determine if the school is a probable, target, or reach institution. Students have the option to save as many comparisons as they would like so they can easily come back and compare schools.

Resources and guidance are at students' fingertips within MEFA Pathway to help them build a solid college list. And students can easily create an account at to gain access to all of our resources. Encourage the students in your life to register today and start the journey toward college and career planning and success.

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