US Institutional Accreditation System

How can you make sure the college or university in which you are about to enroll is truly legitimate and not just another diploma mill? The United States government offers a free, online database of about 6,900 postsecondary educational institutions and programs, each of which is accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a "reliable authority as to the quality of postsecondary education." You can find the database at

Once you have found an accredited school, you need to make sure you [or your kids] have the necessary skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college. Most high school students and returning adult learners have no clue what college is like and most new college students are shocked and surprised by the breadth of knowledge and skills university professors expect of their students.

Back in 1998 the Association of American Universities with the assistance of the Pew Charitable Trusts decided to identify what students need to know and be able to do in order to succeed in entry-level university courses at America's research universities. The results were published in a free booklet and CD-ROM titled "Understanding University Success." Included in the booklet is something called "Knowledge and Skills for University Success", a listing of what university faculty expect from students in entry- level courses in English, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, second languages and the arts. You can view it here:

If you don't want to read the booklet online, you can download it for free in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You can also have the booklet on a CD for a small charge.


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