Planning and applying for college has come a long way – no more paper applications or stamps needed to mail in various forms and transcripts. Today, schools have gone digital, and you’ll find plenty of online resources for college.
Many of the best resources prospective students and parents need on everything from deciding on colleges to exploring career options are right at your student’s fingertips.
Here are just a few to get you started.
Brought to you by the same folks who develop the ACT test each year, ACT Profile allows student to login and explore various career paths and the colleges that fit those aspirations.
BigFuture Make a Plan
The College Board offers a variety of online tools to answer students’ most frequently asked questions about getting into college. With the Make a Plan program, students can enter their year in school and then will be prompted with questions that help them develop a college readiness roadmap.
BigFuture College Search
This program, also from the College Board, helps you sift through 3,770 available college options into a manageable – and customized – list of choices.
This easy-to-use website includes a College Match Tool and a Student Loan Finder. Other cool features include a “Determine Acceptance Odds” where you enter in various data and then are able to see college choices that match the information.
The National Center for Education Statistics includes a simple tool for beginning the college search. You can browse by program of study and enter in other information, like how far you’re willing to go from a certain ZIP code, the institution type and more, to begin looking for the right college fit.
Boasting that it’s the “world’s largest college forum,” this expansive website includes links and information about preparing for college tests, looking for financial aid and writing college essays.
Common App Virtual Counselor
The Common Application makes applying for colleges easier for students and colleges. Instead of filling out the application information on each college’s website, students fill out the Common Application and then submit it to the various schools they’d like to attend (many, but not all, Michigan colleges use it).
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
You’ll want to add this URL to your web browser bookmark list. Many colleges require families to fill out the FAFSA to determine financial aid amounts.
Gates Millennium Scholars
For students of color, this website aims to reduce “financial barriers for African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with high academic and leadership promise who have significant financial need.”
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
For student athletes hoping to play for college teams, this is a good place to start for information on scholarships, choosing a college and more.
Net Price Calculator
Perhaps one of the biggest factors in deciding on a college is the price tag that goes with it. This calculator from U.S. News & World Report will walk you through college costs.
SAT Test Prep
Get a leg up on taking the SAT by going over this practice test and other resources available from the College Board. Check out Metro Parent’s SAT prep class roundup, too!
The best online tool?
“One of the most overlooked online resources for college-bound students is the college’s website itself,” says Patrick O’Connor, former associate dean of college counseling at Cranbrook Schools.
“When parents have questions about admissions, most of those are answered on the admissions website.”