Picking the right college to attend is a mindboggling process of elimination. But there are thousands of schools to research, meaning that process could take forever if you don’t focus your search. Fortunately there are a lot of resources out there designed to help you. Below are some of the best:
1. College Board. A nonprofit that focuses on education, you might already be familiar with the College Board thanks to standardized exams such as the SATs. But this organization also provides a nifty college search tool that allows you to narrow down your choices according to distinct categories such as learning environment and popular activities.
2. College Navigator. Run by the U.S. Department of Education, College Navigator is an official resource that’s also pretty reliable, providing exhaustive information from enrollment data, net price, and even campus security statistics.
3. Princeton Review. Every guidance office has a copy of their college rankings for reason: they’re pretty accurate, as well as comprehensive. They also offer insider’s admissions advice, meaning they have your best interests in mind.
4. US News. To determine their rankings, U.S. News and World Report weighs the opinions of others. What does that mean, exactly? They ask universities to rank each other in the hopes of creating a fair list so that you can search for the best college without being duped.
5. Forbes. Renowned for their financial prowess, Forbes ranks colleges according their students’ career prospects, graduation rates, and levels of debt. What does that mean for you? You should search for colleges through Forbes if you want to keep your wallet happy.
A bit of advice: while college search engines are handy tools, you shouldn’t take them as gospel. While they shed a little light on all the college options that are available, they don’t tell the whole story. To get a better picture, visit campuses, seek advice from counselors, try to connect with alumni, and keep your options open.