Best College Search Resources

Published by Wendy Nelson on

search-thAs a parent starting the college search with your high school student, how do you find the best college search resources? It’s a difficult quest in a world full of opinions and the millions of results that will display in your online search.

Here are some of the best college search resources I have found:

  1. CollegeData website – This site has a robust college search function that is very data based.  You can include things like “freshman satisfaction” rate, graduation rate, percent of financial need met, and percent of students receiving merit aid.  CollegeData provides detailed statistics for each school.  Especially helpful are the Admissions and Money Matters statistics.  You can see how many students with financial need have their need fully met and the average percentage of need that is met.  This will be especially helpful for families who know that they should be eligible for at least some financial aid.  You can assess your student’s chance of being offered a substantial amount of aid by a particular school.  For example, if a school shows that the average percent of need met is 50% and you are counting on financial aid to send your student to college, that might not be a college you can count on.  On the other hand, if a school shows average percent of need met is 95%, that’s pretty encouraging.  CollegeData includes lots of other statistics regarding financial aid and merit aid, what is important for admission, and more.  Go to CollegeData when your student is building a potential list of colleges to get a good overall picture of whether or not a school will meet your family’s requirements.  Also, go to CollegeData for help building an initial list of schools.
  2. Niche College Prowler – The best thing about this site is the college reviews by students.  It is always interesting to hear what current students have to say about their school.  Of course you need to look at these in aggregate and not take any one person’s comments too seriously.  As with most “user reviews,” there will be a wide variety from lovers to haters and everything in between.  Both you and your student will enjoy reading the college reviews on Niche College Prowler.
  3. Cutting the Cost of College – This is an online class offered by Lynn O’Shaughnessy of The College SolutionIt will teach you how to find the best deals on colleges.  I participated in the pilot of this class and found the information extremely helpful for any parents worried about finding affordable schools.  It is taught in a very interactive way and you will learn from Lynn as well as other parents in the class.

I know from experience that it is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information out there pertaining to the college search.  These are just a few of the best college search resources I have found.  For a broader list of sites you may want to check out, go to the list of My Top 10 College Search Information Websites.