Between the stacks of snail mail you receive every day, the emails regularly coming into your inbox and the countless college fairs your school puts on, there are a lot of colleges trying to gain your attention. Understandably, this just makes choosing the perfect one for you even more difficult!
As nice as it is to get help, being able to do your own research to spot your perfect college (and find out how to get into that school) is exactly what you need. Luckily, there are lots of tools and websites available to you that will help you make an informed decision!
We all have an idea of what we want our college to be like, and ApplyMap takes those ideas and pops out a list of colleges that match!
ApplyMap is a free tool that finds college matches for you quickly. “I was really picky about what college I wanted to go to, which was making my search really hard,” explains Toria Sanders, a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College. “When I discovered ApplyMap, in 20 minutes I had come up with better info than I had in three weeks of searching.”
If you are looking for an easy, free tool for your college search, ApplyMap is a very good place to start!
2. The College Board BigFuture
The College Board BigFuture tool is more than just a place to look at your SAT and AP scores. It also offers insight into what colleges you should apply to, how to get in and how to do well in college – all for free!
Input your stats (GPA, standard testing scores, etc.), and the BigFuture tool will find colleges for you, along with info on what you’ll need to be accepted. “I used The College Board search and found my best match was Pacific,” says Molly Barnes, a freshman at Pacific University. “In the weeks I’ve been here, I [knew] it was the perfect fit. College Board did good.”
Cappex is another great search engine. Similar to ApplyMap and The College Board, this site makes its own free search engine off of your scores and college preferences. However, it also provides quotes from undergrads, giving you the real deal on what is happening on campus.
“I really liked Cappex for my college search because they not only matched me to colleges, but also gave me reviews from students,” says Boise State University junior Cameron Martin. “I liked that real people told me what the college was like.”
4. U.S. News & World Report My Fit
U.S. News & World Report has come out with its own college matchmaker, and it’s fancier than the new iPhone. My Fit, which is included with the U.S. News & World Report College Compass Access ($29.95/year), matches you to schools with 23 criteria options, meaning you get the best matches.
If you’re not sure about spending money on this tool, one collegiette has some advice. “I was nervous to spend the money because there are so many free options,” says Shannon O’Connor, a junior at the University of Oregon. “But, looking back, I’m happy I did because I felt that my results were spot-on. Plus, the Compass Access has lots of other features that makes your money well spent.” Sounds like those extra dollars were worth it!
5. College Confidential
If you’ve already chosen a few of your matches and you’re trying to decide which one is your dream school, it’s time to get some help from the experts: the students. College Confidential is a forum for students and parents to share their experiences with searching for, applying to and attending college.
“I wasn’t sure about if my scores would get me into UO,” says Clara Sampson, a sophomore at the University of Oregon. “But checking College Confidential showed me which scores kids had gotten, giving me good reference.”
For some real talk from real students, College Confidential is the website to check out.
Whether you’ve just started your college search or have been searching for ages already, you’ll want to use these websites to find your best results. Plus, they’ll save you so much time! Try them out and see how much easier (and efficient) your search becomes. These sites provide lots of information about many of the colleges in the country, with lots of tips on how to apply and get accepted (yes, it’s more than just rocking your Common App). Good luck with your college search, pre-collegiettes!