Category Archives: Charts & Data Visualization

Why don’t elite universities expand their enrollment?

For high school seniors, January 1st marks the college application deadline, the culmination of months of high stakes essay writing, testing, and filling out applications. This is then followed by four months of anxious waiting for the decisions to come back. Having applied to college over 15 years ago, I’m always shocked at how much harder getting into college appears to have gotten – acceptance rates for top schools have fallen to just 5-8%.  With lower acceptance rates comes increased stress and pressure to perform. Continue reading


Pick your daughter’s future sport based on her expected body type (height and weight)

Women Sports

Or, “How to get your five-year old recruited into Stanford or Harvard for sports in 2027”…Or, “It helps to be tall”

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Use a spreadsheet to check Matthew Berry’s Top 200 Fantasy Football Rankings results from Week 1

“It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future”  Various

Usually, improvement in prediction-making comes in two steps.  Step 1: Make a Prediction.  Step 2: Evaluate how accurate the prediction was, and learn from it.  Often times, Step 2 can get overlooked as we move on to future predictions and future weeks of fantasy football.  Spreadsheets can help us quickly evaluate how our predictions were, and quickly point out where we might have erred.

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My Life in a Tree Map


Grand Teton, WY. Photo: Amie

How does my life compare to the average American’s? What does my ideal day look like? With data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Google spreadsheets, and problem-solving skills, let’s conduct some analysis with Tree Maps.

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How to Track & Analyze Spending

Where does your money go? This is an important question, because it gets to the heart of basic money management and personal finance. Let’s discover and create a spreadsheet application that tracks and analyzes your spending!  Continue reading

How to Visualize Data

Is the typical New Yorkers’ overall “well-being” better than that of the national average? Nope! How did we quickly conclude this? Check out the graph to the right. Data visualization is an effective (and fun) way to understand information!

Too much information can be overwhelming. But there are ways to channel the desired data and convey it in a way that makes it quick and easy to understand. Let’s discover the power of data visualization by creating a flexible, automatic tool shown below. To see this tool live in action, see our 2-minute video below:

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How to Create Charts in Google Spreadsheets

"How I Met Your Mother."  Source: YouTube

“How I Met Your Mother.” Source: YouTube

Charts are everywhere – books, newspaper articles, magazines, ads, and even TV shows [Click here for a video clip of How I Met Your Mother]. Valuable, practical, and fun, charts enable us to visualize and understand data. In 3 steps, you can build any chart in Google spreadsheets. Continue reading

ABCD: Analyzing Big College Data

© Photographer Daniel Gilbey|Agency:

The college decision is a big one. Are you deciding which college(s) to apply to or which one to attend? Or are you in middle or high school and interested in attending college someday? Or have you already graduated from college?

For all, let’s explore essential skills by analyzing data across 202 U.S. colleges! Continue reading

Pampered Pooches: Is Pet Spending Recession-Proof?


Sushi (Photo: May Ko)

When asked which child she adores most, my mom would remark without hesitation, “Sushi is my favorite.” Sushi is an adorable 7-year-old schnauzer. As many may relate, pets are a part of the family, with a few lucky ones elevated to “favorite child” status. Continue reading

NYC Subway Passenger Habit Charts

© Photographer Oscar1319 | Agency:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) recently published an observational study of subway rider seating behavior. Collecting data over three weeks in late winter 2012, the researchers published their findings on rider seating preferences in a draft report: who finds seats when the train is crowded? Do standing riders prefer vertical bars or graspable handles?  Which seat type do sitting riders take:  seats near a door or bench spots?

Based on some of the data from the report, let’s create visuals – charts that offer us a glimpse into some questions: Continue reading

Pivot Table & National Volunteering Month

April is National Volunteering Month, so let’s celebrate!  What better way is there to celebrate than to honor those who devote themselves to their communities while simultaneously mastering a pivot table?  That’s right – you heard me!

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How many languages do you speak?

Over the past several months – or years for that matter – there has been a rush among American parents to teach kids Mandarin.  After-school language classes have emerged, immersion programs are gaining popularity, and videos and phone apps focused on languages have sprung up!

A recent Economist article, “Valued-Added Remodeling” (March 16, 2013) even noted that Jack Markell, Delaware’s governor, plans to expand immersion programs, such as those seen in the kindergarten classroom of Mcllvaine Early Childhood Center, where children are taught solely in Mandarin for half of each day.

Now, what’s the connection between our language skills and a spreadsheet? Continue reading