Researching Colleges on the Clock

Last Updated May 19, 2010 5:54 PM EDT

For sale signHow much time do families put into researching colleges?

I began wondering about this when I saw a report the other day from Zillow, a popular real estate website, that suggests that Americans spend just five hours researching a mortgage. That's half the time that families routinely spend planning a vacation.

Five hours hardly seems like enough time to compare mortgage options. In fact, that surely explains some of the subprime mortgage fiasco.

The Zillow survey got me wondering about how much time families spend researching colleges.

I suspect that families devote a lot more time to stressing about college than actually evaluating their options. I've run into plenty of parents, who seem to know where their children will attend school before they ever visit a single campus.

I have no idea how much time the typical family spends researching colleges, but I do believe that it's not enough.

If you want to research colleges the right way, here are suggestions to get you started:

College Visit: 7 Top Things You Must Do
The Best Colleges You've Never Heard Of
The Real Best Colleges
The Secret to Snagging More Financial Aid
5 Reasons to Attend a Liberal Arts College
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution, an Amazon bestseller, and she also writes for TheCollegeSolutionBlog. Follow her on Twitter.

Researching colleges image by Ian Muttoo. CC 2.0.