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Top college lists: Can they help students find a personal fit?

Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

A new survey shows recent Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara graduates make higher salaries than many of their counterparts nationwide.

It's just one of many college rankings released throughout the year from a growing number of publications. These rankings are not only based on salary, but on criteria such as, average class size, athletics, or political climate.

Spencer Barr is a college and career counselor at Santa Barbara High School. It's the second week of the academic year and Barr said it can be chaotic with students switching classes and finding their way around campus.

Juniors and seniors are also beginning to think about college. Barr is hosting a college fair Tuesday to help with the process. He said college ranking lists also play a role in which campuses get noticed.

"It's almost like a list game that's happening and universities love this," he said. "If they make that list, then they put that on their social media and it drives traffic to the school."

He said these lists are showcasing more schools-- schools with smaller marketing budgets than a top university.

"I think most kids are starting to figure out that they would rather go to a college that has what they want, rather than settle for a major, " said Barr.

Cal Poly and UCSB are highly ranked on a variety of college surveys and are popular choices for students who want to stay local.

But Barr said, these schools are increasingly difficult to get in to. He said with these specific lists, it brings names to students' attention that otherwise may not have been.