If you’re starting to choose a college, the best place to begin looking for information is always the Internet. Several websites have a quality “college finder” or “college search” to help give you some ideas of where to go to school based on your preferences.
Most of these will ask similar questions about what you’d like in a college, such as your major, ideal distance from home, size of campus, sports, and so forth.
A lot of these websites are also great for providing general statistics about colleges or universities, such as male/female ratio, tuition, average age, ethnicity distribution, and so forth.
Much like the Student Search Service, a lot of the college searches are only helpful if you don’t already have a school in mind. If you’ve already narrowed it down to a few, the searches won’t be too helpful to you. However, the information that these sites provide is useful no matter who you are.
- CollegeBoard – Home of the SAT/PSAT/AP tests, CollegeBoard also provides a lot of information about colleges. If you have a college in mind, go ahead and search for it or try using the matchmaker they have to try to find a school that might interest you. You can provide CollegeBoard with information about yourself, such as ACT/SAT scores, GPA, and other information to see how you compare with what that college normally accepts. This is great for trying to get an idea of where you have a good chance at being accepted to. Keep checking regularly to see how you compare with what the college’s requirements are.
- College and cheaper MBA programs – A pretty simple search that can turn up more schools for you. This site also provides some basic statistics and the tuition featuring the most affordable programs that are listed on top ranking sites
- StudentsReview – I’m honestly not too fond of the college finder here, but this site provides a lot of information from students of schools. Students grade the school in a variety of different areas and write reviews about schools. This is a great place to find information from students about a school, an invaluable resource. If you have a school in mind, I recommend reading through a bunch of pages of reviews on this site to find out more.
- Fastweb – The famous scholarship searching website is also pretty good for hunting around for colleges. Again you’ll need to make a free account to use the search (but you’ll want this anyways to look for scholarships). Fastweb has a lot of advertising, just say no to their offers. This site provides another questionnaire, just answer it the best you can and you might find some new results.
- Princeton Review – You’ll need an account to use anything here, including the college search, but this website provides some additional information about schools. None of the information is very in-depth, but if you’re looking for an overall summary about a school, this site is another one worth looking into.
- College Prowler – Using their college finder, you might be able to turn up a few more colleges that the other ones did not. College Prowler is a pay site, though, so you won’t be able to get too much out of these guys unless you want to open your wallet. Personally, I don’t think that’s necessary, as the above sites are far more helpful.
When I was doing my search to find where I wanted to go, CollegeBoard and StudentsReview were the most helpful to me. I didn’t find out about Fastweb or College View until I had already turned in my applications, and I wish I had.