Online Study

Online Study

The Top 10 Websites for College-Bound Students

Bookmark these! The following free websites will provide you with all the tips, tactics and tools you could possibly want for your college search.

1. College Board ( You’ll need to create an account here so you can register for the SATs-and check your scores the minute they’re posted. But this nonprofit organization of more than 5,700 member schools provides a wealth of other information as well. Its website is a great starting point to gather-and compare- basic data on colleges, including admission requirements, program offerings and costs.

2. College Confidential ( This site bills itself as the “leading college-bound community on the web,” and it’s easy to see why. In addition to helpful articles on admissions and financial aid, it features lively discussion boards where parents, students and admissions officers answer one another’s questions, share tips and offer support throughout the college process. All you need to do is register and give yourself a “screen name” so you can join the conversation.

3. College Prowler ( You’ll get the lowdown on schools directly from students and recent grads. For each of 1,476 colleges listed, you can learn about everything from acceptance rates to assessments of the campus drinking and dating scenes. You’ll also find colorful quotes from co-eds that give you a real-deal sense of the college environment. In addition, the site offers a tool to help you assess your chances of admission at the schools you’re considering.

4. Common Application ( Pretty much every high school senior is familiar with the so-called “common ap.” This is the go-to resource when the time comes to actually apply to college: It provides online and print versions of application materials for almost 400 schools. Students complete one main application and essay that can be submitted to multiple colleges with the click of a mouse. You can also link to any supplementary application materials a school requires. New this year: Online forms for teachers and guidance counselors to submit recommendations electronically.

5. FAFSA ( If you think you’ll need help paying for college, get comfortable with the website of the Free Application for Financial Student Aid. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, it’s a user-friendly resource that’s loaded with publications, brochures and fact-sheets on financing college. And, most importantly, it’s where you set up an account to apply for federal aid, including Pell grants and Stafford, Perkins and Plus loans.

6. FastWeb ( If you’re hoping for a scholarship, this is the place to hunt it down. After registering, you can custom-search a database of 1.3 million awards based on your individual qualifications and needs. FastWeb also supplies info on job and internship programs and has an active discussion board as well.

7. FinAid ( This award-winning website, sponsored by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, may well be the most comprehensive resource on paying for higher education. You’ll find nitty-gritty details about different types of loans, scholarships, grants and even military programs. The site’s “FAQs” cover anything you can think oft: There’s even a category called “miscellaneous and unusual” questions. In addition, it has calculators to help you project college costs, estimate your expected family contribution and decide how much to borrow.

8. NCAA ( Any student athlete who dreams of playing at a Division I, II or III school should log onto this site and download the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s guide. It contains the rules and regulations that spell out everything, from the way college coaches can recruit to what high school courses a student needs to take and what SAT scores he must attain. This is also where athlete applicants submit a “clearinghouse form” that is used by college coaches for recruitment purposes.

9. Peterson’s ( If you’re looking to find a wealth of material in a single place, this site is a good bet. Originally a well-respected college guidebook, Peterson’s has migrated online with enough material info to fill volumes. You’ll find basic data about hundreds of colleges and universities, including criteria for admissions, courses of study and total costs. In addition, there are helpful articles on virtually every aspect of the admissions process.

10. Princeton Review ( Though primarily aimed at encouraging students to sign up for the company’s test-prep programs, this site contains tons of free content, including articles on applying to schools, choosing a major and finding a study abroad program. One fun feature is the “counselor-o-matic,” a tool that asks questions about grades, test scores, interests and activities then spits out a list of “good-fit” colleges. You’ll also find light-hearted rankings, which name the top colleges in such categories as “Most Politically Active” and “Major Frat and Sorority Scene.”

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