Pointer College Discovery

App review by
Keri Wilmot, Common Sense Media
Pointer College Discovery App Poster Image
Solid school finder sells data, not comprehensive.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

App helps prospective college students find colleges and universities that match their personal preferences and interests.

Ease of Play

Users answer 24 questions about their personality and preferences by scrolling through a list and highlighting their answers. Can be difficult to navigate through app sections at times and is best utilized on a smartphone.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

When choosing qualities of their personality, kids can identify as being a "stoner." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pointer College Discovery is a free app to help high school students find a compatible college or university within the United States. After inputting personalized information such as their current demographic information, unique skills and interests, they're matched with a school. The privacy policy is very transparent about the fact that the developers sell your data to colleges. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

When using POINTER COLLEGE DISCOVERY prospective college students answer many questions based on their current high school, grade, and personal interests. Users are asked to highlight their personality traits and stereotypes, as well as current appointments like student council and community service options. Users also provide information such as if their parent's went to college, if they're currently homeless, what size of city/town they currently live in, features of their current neighborhood, their GPA, what qualities they look for in a college placement, where the family resides in the US, whether they are seeking financial aid, and how they identify in terms of gender and race. 

The app then recommends colleges and universities to the user. Each college included has a short description, it's location on a map, as well as information on the application fee and SAT's. Within the app, an action plan calendar is included to help students keep track of important dates and deadlines. There's access to quizzes and tips included to help in the process, such as creating a separate email address to use just for applications.

Is it any good?

Having a tool to find a college might help with the overhwhelming process, but you do sacrifice your data and may not find what you're looking for. Pointer College Discovery aims to help prospective college students explore the process, not just in terms of finding out basic information about a college or university based on location, size or application fee. It also shares suggestions and quizzes to help kids keep track of important deadlines and explore their interests, personalities and other priorities.

Unfortunately, there are many excellent colleges and universities that were not included in the app recommendations. At times it feels like inputting all of the information requested when signing up is more of a benefit to the colleges and universities who might be purchasing it from the developer, versus aiding the students in their search for the next step in their academic career. Pointer College Discovery may be a good start for high school juniors who are just beginning to think about the college application process as they begin to get their thoughts together and familiarize themselves with the process. However, given that it isn't an inclusive list, students could be missing out on finding the college or university of their dreams if they're not doing additional research in the process.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Pointer College Discovery is a tool to help navigate through the college admission process, and that it's not only important to find a compatible school, but to use tools to find out about deadlines for applications, financial aid, and testing.

  • Getting ready to apply to college is not just about having good grades and a high GPA. Think about helping your teen describe their personalities and interests by creating a list of personality traits in order to help find compatible schools, and to use during interviews and essays.

  • Knowing that prospective colleges may be viewing your child's social profiles, what does their social profile include for pictures? Is their public profile on Instagram, Twitter or TikTok a good representation of their character?

  • Being a well rounded student is important to many colleges and universities. Has your child completed any recent community service projects or started a business? What are their other achievements they should share?

  • Talk to teens about the potential price of free apps. This app sells data to colleges which helps keep it free. In this case, is it worth the trade-off? What about with other apps?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love doing research and college prep

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