Common Data Set

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search

The Common Data Set is a product of the Common Data Set Initiative, "a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community and publishers as represented by the College Board, Peterson's, and U.S. News & World Report." The stated goal is to provide accurate and timely data to students and their families while decreasing the workload of administrators. In producing their popular publications and rankings, these publishers "ask the same core questions" of institutions using the Common Data Set to define those questions and their responses.[1] These data are also used in public accountability efforts such as the Voluntary System of Accountability's College Portrait.[2]

Annual CDS survey results[edit]

Each year the Common Data Set initiative makes small changes to the "survey" submitted for every contributing college and University to complete. While the resulting database of all responses is not available for download, individual colleges and universities typically publish their individual responses on their own website.

These individual responses can provide valuable information for students applying to a particular college or University. For example, section C7 - "Relative Importance of Common Academic and Non-Academic Admission Criteria" – indicates the admission process for that college places on items like "Class Rank", "GPA", and "Extra-Curricular Activities". Another example is Sections C9 to C12, which give a statistical breakdown of SAT/ACT scores, class rank, and GPA for the current freshman class. This can be a good indicator, especially for the more selective colleges and universities, of the typical scores needed for admission. Sections on "Tuition and Fees" and "Financial Aid" can help potential applicants to understand the typical costs and potential aid they might receive based on the current freshman class statistics.

Survey sections and topics[edit]

The CDS annual survey includes the following major sections, identified by major sections (A-J) and subsections (0, 1, 3, ...):


  1. ^ Association for Institutional Research (1997). "AIR Alert #1". Retrieved March 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ Voluntary System of Accountability Program (2010), About the College Portrait, retrieved March 23, 2010 

External links[edit]