Niche presents a great mix of quantitative and qualitative data presented in plain language and appealing graphics. Student reviews are organized by category and are fairly concise and up to date, and each section contains a Student Author Overview: a well curated summary of the collected student reviews in broad strokes, written by a small squad of current students at the college.
Here are the features that I'd recommend for any student looking to get better acquainted with colleges.
The Scattergram: Under the Admissions tab, you'll find a graphic that plots your GPA and composite test score against the ranks of other students Attending, Accepted, Waitlisted, Rejected, or Considering. Immediate, visual context for how your numbers stack up! (This tool is particularly useful for students who don't have access to Naviance.)
The Best & Worst: These top ten lists help put into plain English the most attractive and not-so-great qualities of the school. Since these lists are reported directly by the students, they can often provide new search terms to take back to Google ("Houseparty Weekend," "Dance Marathon," the Rock") when doing more in-depth research about school culture.
Firms that Most Frequently Hire Grads: In the Jobs & Internships tab, you'll find a list of companies that a significant number of graduates go on to join. If you're someone who already knows some of the specific companies you'd love to work for later (say, you want to study animation and work for Pixar), you can reverse-engineer this list in a Google search by searching: "niche college jobs & internships [COMPANY NAME]."
Distribution of Students Across Majors: In the majors section, the list is broken down not only by major, concentration, and degree types, but it also tracks the number of students enrolled in each!
Famous Alumni List: Never heard of a school? Maybe you'll be familiar with some of the big-name people who graduated from there.
Campus Quality Tab: Check out "Popular places to chill" (before your visit), the "School Slang" list (perhaps it could at a little more flavor to your Why Us? essay?), and the "Traditions" list (ditto on that one).
Local Area: You can learn a lot about the environment surrounding a college campus by asking students, "Can you see yourself living here after graduation? Totally // If I can find a job // No way."