Finding college information on the Internet is not hard thanks to the many college-search engine tools.
Use these college search engines to find a wide range of information such as: admission statistics, graduation rates, course offerings, application forms and filing dates. You can even tour the campus and find students ratings and opinions.
- College Navigator (http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator) is a free consumer information resource provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The site has tools and search options that make it quick and easy to gather and compare data about most U.S. colleges and universities. The College Navigator site also has useful links to Federal government sites for financial aid and career planning.
- College Insight (http://college-insight.org) provides easy-to-use college profiles that include information about affordability, student debt, and diversity.
- Unigo (http://www.unigo.com) provides “insider” reviews, videos and photos by actual students attending the college. You’ll also find institution-specific stats and rankings as well as forums that focus on specific topics and colleges. Unigo’s partnership with The Wall Street Journal provides additional content focused on getting accepted, choosing schools and paying for college.
- U-CAN Network (http://www.ucan-network.org) The University and College Accountability Network provides charts and concise information in a common format on more than 700 private institutions courtesy of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Institutional profiles include admissions and enrollment stats, student demographics, graduation rates, popular majors, faculty information, class size, tuition and fee trends, price of attendance, financial aid, campus housing, student life, and campus safety.
- College Portraits (http://www.collegeportraits.org) College Portrait of Undergraduate Education is similar to U-CAN, but focuses on public colleges and universities.
- College Results Online (http://www.collegeresults.org) provides interactive tools to query graduation rates at four-year colleges and universities. In addition to providing college-specific graduation rates and other data (e.g. cost, financial aid), the comparison tool provides analogous information for similar colleges.
- Kiplinger’s Best College Values (links-to-college-search-engines) ranks U.S. colleges and universities in three separate lists: public, private universities, and liberal arts colleges. Users can query, view and sort the schools on each list by various financial and quality measures.
- U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges (links-to-college-search-engines) Beyond its rankings, this site offers a plethora of college data and guidance. In addition to ranking national universities and liberal arts colleges, you’ll find an assortment of interesting lists including: A+ Options for B Students, Learning Communities, Up-and-Coming Colleges, Internships-Co-ops, Study Abroad, Best Undergrad Teaching and Writing Programs.
- FairTest (http://www.fairtest.org) The National Center for Fair & Open Testing, a nonprofit advocacy organization provides a list of more than 800 four-year colleges and universities that do not use the SAT I or ACT to admit substantial numbers of bachelor degree candidates.
- College Board (http://www.collegeboard.com) provides search and “College MatchMaker” tools to query its database of more than 3500 schools. The site also contains useful student aid and entrance exam information.
- Zinch (links-to-college-search-engines) is a fairly new admissions portal that helps colleges and students connect. Students create profiles on the site and “shout out” to colleges of interest hoping to begin a dialogue. Colleges also have the ability to search through these profiles to reach out to students. More than 800 colleges and universities participate, including a number of Ivy League schools.
- Cappex (http://www.cappex.com) has a user-friendly search tool that provides easy-to-absorb college profiles with information about specific programs and majors. Cappex also has college matchmaking and scholarship resources for registered users.
- Common Data Set – Google “Common Data Set and Name of Institution” (e.g. Common Data Set Vanderbilt”) The Common Data Set refers that the source data that colleges and universities provide annually, in a standardized format, for use in college guides and other venues. Analyzing the data can provide insight about admissions, merit aid and other areas of interest.
- College Confidential (http://www.collegeconfidential.com), the popular college admissions site and discussion forum is a source of school-specific gossip (whether reliable or not) and information.
- College Prowler (Student Opinions & Reviews)
- Campus Tours (College Campus Tours)
In addition to on-line tools, there are many excellent guidebooks and college directories.
An InLikeMe favorite is The College Finder: Choose the School That’s Right for You! a unique resource for finding out about college majors, costs, athletics, religion, quality, and much more. The College Finder is a book with hundreds of lists, which can help identify colleges where students will get in and fit in. List topics include: best schools in specific fields such as pre-med and business, hidden gems, great food, low-cost colleges with excellent education and study abroad opportunities.
Here are two other InLikeMe favorites:
The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013, 29E provides an insider’s look at more than 300 popular colleges and universities.
Lynn Radlauer Lubell, Publisher of InLikeMe.com and Founder of Admission By Design, an Educational Consultancy based in Boca Raton, Florida.