3 Ways To Quickly Research Colleges

One of the most common stress factors high school students’ face during college planning is the college research process. Students simply don’t know where to begin their search.

This is completely understandable; there’s so much information on the internet today that it can be very overwhelming to college bound high school students.

So where should you start?  Below are 3 excellent college research tools to help you with the college search process.

Website #1 – Petersons

Petersons.com is a great college search tool (that’s why it’s listed as #1).  While the website can be a little intimidating at first glance due to the wealth of information, once you figure out how to navigate the site, it will quickly become one of your best friends.

You can find everything you would ever want to know about any college or university on this site – it’s very comprehensive. Let me give you a few tips on how to best navigate the site.

The site itself has a lot of information on the home page, but don’t get overwhelmed, just follow these steps:

  • Step 1 – Click “College Search” at the top of the page
  • Step 2 – If you know the name of the school you want to research, enter it in the search bar at the top of the page
  • Step 3 – If not, click “Colleges by State” or “College Search by Major” to start searching for potential colleges.  This can be found under the “Popular Search Options” on the right side of the page.

For each college, there’s information about admissions, financial aid, cost, student body, campus life, faculty, athletics, and a ton of other topics.

Website #2 – CollegeBoard

While Petersons’ is my favorite, College Board (collegeboard.org) is a close second.

Again, this website contains a lot of information, so it may be a little difficult to navigate, but it is very useful.

  • Step 1 – If you know the name of the school you want to research, enter it in the search bar on the left side of the home page
  • Step 2 – If you’re not sure what college you want to learn more about, click the blue “College Search” button to start searching for potential colleges
  • Step 3 – Use the “College Search” function to search for colleges

The “College Search” function allows students to search for colleges using specific filters (shown on the left).

In addition to the filters shown there, a student can also search by the following:

  1. Sports & Activities
  2. Applying
  3. Academic Credit
  4. Tuition
  5. Support Services
  6. Diversity

 There are over 3,500 college options that can be researched on College Board! Use the filters to narrow your choices down and find the right colleges for you.

Website #3 – College Navigator

College Navigator (nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator) is a service that is provided by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). It is a great tool that will help you research and compare various colleges and universities. It is also pretty easy to use.

  • Step 1 – If you know the name of the school you want to research, enter it in the search bar on the left side of the home page.
  • Step 2 – If you’re not sure what college you want to learn more about, you can search by several different characteristics: State, Zip Code, Major Programs, Institution Type, etc.
  • Step 3 – Once you enter your search criteria, hit “show results” and you’ll be provided with a list of colleges that met the criteria you entered.
  • Step 4 – When you click on a particular college, you’ll be provided with a ton of information. To learn more about each area, you must expand each section.

In addition to the sections shown initially, you will also be able to research the following areas:

  1. Enrollment
  2. Admissions
  3. Retention and Graduation Rates
  4. Programs/Majors
  5. Varsity Athletic Teams
  6. Accreditation
  7. Campus Security (Crime Statistics)
  8. Cohort Default Rates

With the use of these 3 online college research tools, the college research process might not be so daunting after all!

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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