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About Successful Student: Education Navigation for Students


About Us

School and degree choices often influence lifetime career trajectory and income potential. When searching the right college and degree fit, where to begin? Successful Student serves as a source for making education sensible and meaningful for students. We help students navigate the landscape of education. We do this by putting students at the center of importance for all content on this site.

What We Do

Successful Student leads as an authority for students to consult for informed college and degree rankings. We provide financial aid information, resources, and strategies for successfully navigating education.

All content, including school rankings, are crafted for students. Using a student-centric approach, we select ranking criteria most salient and relevant to students. Because of this approach, our rankings are unique. No other ranking education ranking site places students at the focal-point.

As such, we provide student-centric rankings for a variety of school types, including:

  • online high schools
  • on campus private schools
  • colleges (online and on campus)
  • undergraduate and graduate college degree programs
  • trade schools



Hundreds of colleges and universities have referenced and linked to our rankings and content, including:

How We Do It


We perform the necessary research to find the best schools. Students can explore our ranking lists to compare schools and degrees. We also provide important information about each degree, such as salary information, relevant jobs, and more.

We use our proprietary methodology to produce the rankings. We do not accept financial remuneration from colleges or universities to include them in a ranking list or move them up in a ranking list.

We help students to be successful, which starts with making informed decisions about education, such as which college to attend and which degree to pursue.

Learn more about our Ranking System

Who We Are

Jake Akins | President

Jake graduated from the University of Texas system with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2007.

Jake started Successful Student in earnest in 2014, as a resource for students to make sense of education options. The need to place students first in making sense of education was apparent, given that all other college ranking entities always approach college ranking top-down, instead of bottom-up.

Top-down ranking means selecting the best schools based on factors such as academic prestige, endowment amounts, and things that don't necessarily always translate to helping students. Jake devised a bottom-up approach, which has been the guiding principal informing the rankings and all content at Successful Student.

We have created a database of all online and on campus colleges in the U.S. From this database, we can create algorithms that will rank schools by the weights we give to the various ranking factors.

Jake is married with two children and lives outside of Fort Worth, Texas.


1. Author of "C. S. Lewis, Science, and the Medieval Mind", chapter four in the book The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, edited by John West. Published by Discovery Institute Press, 2012.

The Magician's Twin Book Cover

This book is a collection of essays from different authors exploring the writings and thoughts of C. S. Lewis concerning science (such as its origin, scientific revolutions, etc.), the philosophy of scientism, and their effects on society.

Jake's essay concentrated on what Lewis wrote about the original conceptualization of science by medievals in the Medieval period.

The essay dispels some common myths about this period, but also includes the positive contributions made to the scientific enterprise which are still in practice today.

2. Lectures on Natural Theology, by Thomas Reid, edited by Jake Akins and James A. Barham, Published by Erasmus Press, 2020.

Lectures on Natural Theology Book Cover

In the 1779-1780 academic year, Thomas Reid gave lectures on natural theology at the University of Glasgow.

This book was transcribed from notes taken from these lectures by a student named George Baird. The book consists of 15 lecture notes, which range in topics such as natural theology, the intellectual powers of man, the human soul, practical ethics, and politics.

Thomas Reid was born in Strachan, Scotland, and became a philosopher in the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment period. He is regarded as one of the founders of the Scottish School of Common Sense.

Favorite Education Quote:

Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. ~ G. K. Chesterton.

Jake's articles, and author page at Amazon.com.

Contact: [email protected]

Gina DeRose | Author

Gina has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Theology from College of Saint Elizabeth in Morris Town, NJ. She also received training as a Medical Assistant, a position which she held for four years.

Gina has worked in a variety of social work positions assisting military families and visually impaired persons.

Gina has completed research, content creation projects, and media communication for Successfulstudent.org since 2016. She currently lives in Iowa with her husband, daughter, and dog.

Favorite Education Quote:

The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts. ~ C. S. Lewis

Gina's articles.

Sarah Aholt | Author

Sarah is our resident engineer. She enjoys researching and writing about education. She is an Industrial Engineer from Oklahoma State University, and has spent her career working in manpower analysis and oil and gas (primarily the midstream sector). Sarah resides in Oklahoma with her husband and their three children.

Favorite Education Quote:

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." ~ Author Unknown

Sarah's articles.

Marisa Enzinna | Author

Marisa holds a bachelor's degree in Communication from State University of New York College at Geneseo and has more than 20 years of journalism and marketing experience.

She has been a staff writer and editor for local newspapers and a contributing writer for online publications and magazines as well as the head of development and communication for a non-profit agency.

Marisa has created content for SuccessfulStudent.org since 2018, and lives in New York with her husband and three children.

Favorite Education Quote:

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." ~ Nelson Mandela

Marisa's articles.

Stephen DeRose | Author

Stephen DeRose is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin and holds a Masters of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary.

Stephen has published with several websites, such as thebestschools.org, buisnesspundit.com, and successfulstudent.org, writing on several subjects. He has written a philosophical novel titled "Who is God" and lives in Iowa with his wife and daughter.

Favorite education quote:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom (Proverbs 9:10)

Stephen's articles.