Three reliable college finder services include College Navigator, The College Board and U.S. News & World Report, each of which offers online resources for prospective students.
College Finder Services
Individuals who need help selecting a college can take advantage of many online college finder resources. Students may seek out reputable websites, such as those run by the government, well-known publications or well-respected educational organizations and institutions.
College Navigator, a website run by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), provides individuals with a breakdown of colleges and universities in the United States and its territories. Users can sort schools according to the following criteria:
- Institution type
- Degree programs offered
- Total and undergraduate student population
- Estimated cost
An overview of each school and contact information are provided. Additionally, students can download information found on specific schools in a spreadsheet format and store that information for later use.
The College Board
The College Board is a non-profit organization that provides an online database of more than 3,700 schools and colleges. Schools are organized in a variety of categories, including:
- 2-year and 4-year schools
- Public and private institutions
- Student enrollment
- Financial aid availability
- Admissions requirements
- Campus life
- Extracurricular activities
- College setting
Search results can be printed and saved for future reference. The College Board also offers prep programs for the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT and the Advanced Placement tests.
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report publishes an online 'Best Colleges' edition that provides rankings of the top colleges and universities in the United States. They evaluate schools based on 15 qualities, each of which is weighted differently. Some of the criteria that they use for their rankings includes:
- Academic reputation
- Graduation rates
- Retention rates
- Class size
- Admission selectivity
- Financial aid opportunities
- Alumni support
Parents and students alike can use these rankings to evaluate the educational quality of schools they may be interested in. Students can also search for schools based on certain criteria of interest, including the following:
- Estimated in-state and out-of-state expenses
- Degree levels
- Student diversity
A comparison tool is also available for students who may need help narrowing down their list of potential schools. A print version of 'Best Colleges' is also available.
Utilizing reliable college finder services, prospective students can identify schools of interest based on particular criteria, ranging from student population size to location to cost.