College | Search

  • Mindset & Approach
    Your approach and preparatory process is essential to having a focused and directed college search.

    The National Association for College Admissions Counseling publishes a high-level outline of that approach in their national published brochure collegebreakdown

    Other Resources:
    Finding the Perfect College
    How to Choose a College:  A Step-by-Step Guide

    How to Decide Where to Attend College
    9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a College

    College Search Engines & Forums

    College Board | BigFuture (account required)
    The same company that produces the SAT, PSAT, and AP testing has created a free resource to assist in the college search process that supports building your college list, options to pay for college, and career exploration.  Click HERE to explore the site – it will ask you to create an account.

    This engine allows you to enter your GPA, SAT, and ACT scores and, based on those, give you recommendations on schools you can get into when you apply.  They also categorize schools by state, application deadlines, the most selective, and the least selective, so you can make choices that suit you.

    Niche’s college rankings are based on the state, major, and campus life.  The rankings that have to do with campus life are given by students attending the school, which helps to gain insight from real students, like you, about their experiences on campus and which college community may be best for you to attend.

    College Confidential is a forum where people discuss how to select, apply for, get admitted to, and pay for colleges. Most of the discussion on the forum centers on a tiny minority of universities - generally the very top ones in the country. There are subforums on selecting colleges, writing application essays, taking SATs and AP tests, and all kinds of other steps on the way of getting into college.

    College Scorecard
    This website is run by the U.S. Department of Education.  They have a very simple interface that allows you to enter your zip code or the state wherein you want to attend school.  You can then enter desired major and tuition range information to generate a list of colleges you should apply to, including how much you can expect to make for the type of degree you entered.

    Campus Visits
    Visiting the campuses of the colleges you are considering is an essential step in the process of ranking and prioritizing your final college list.  Below are a series of documents intended to help prep and organize your visits. 
    Campus Visit Checklist
    College Exploration Worksheet
    Get the Most Out of a Campus Visit
    How to Research Colleges Without Visiting a Campus

    ACCESS Offices (Accessible Campus Community & Equitable Student Support)
    Some colleges offer on-campus resources to support incoming students who have IEP or 504 Plans.  Although colleges are not required by law to follow these high school plans, some colleges are more equipped and intentionally prepared to do so.  Below is a list of colleges/webpages that highlight such programs:
    Southern Illinois U - Edwardsville
    UMSL – SUCCEED Program

    Creating Your College List  
    For students just starting the college search process, we advise using SuperMatch located in your Naviance Student account.  This tool provides criteria that must be selected to generate a list of correlated colleges that can be tagged and saved for future research.  Click HERE to watch the video (7:11 min) for step by step instructions.