How Can I Find Colleges in My Area?

Searching for local colleges can largely be done from one's home. Access to the Internet can produce efficient college searches and more useful results. Potential students can find colleges in their areas using a variety of resources.

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Aspiring students who are looking for nearby colleges may benefit from the online resources provided by the U.S. Department of Education, the College Board and the American Association of Community Colleges. You can find a variety of information from these organizations, including enrollment, costs and programs offered.

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Searching for Colleges in Your Area

When searching for a college in one's area, a potential student should first decide how close the school needs to be from his or her home. Some people may only be looking for a school located in their home state, while others may be looking for a school in their city or within a certain distance from their home ZIP code. Individuals may use school locators offered by the government and non-profit organizations, as well as in-person word of mouth to find a college in their area.

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education offers a school locator that allows students to find accredited colleges. Through the department's Database of Accredited Post-secondary Institutions and Programs, individuals can search for schools by state or city. Once they type in their area, the locator will present students with all schools in that region, along with general information about the institution's location and accreditation.

College Navigator

The National Center for Education Statistics is a U.S. government website operated by the U.S. Department of Education. On this website, aspiring students may use the College Navigator tool to locate schools within a certain distance of a given ZIP code. Students can select their state and ZIP code to find colleges in their area, and they can choose distances between five and 250 miles from any given ZIP Code location. The resource also provides specific information about schools, including:

  • Campus setting
  • Student population
  • Tuition figures
  • Types of financial aid
  • Program offerings
  • Default rates

The College Board

The College Board is a non-profit resource that provides a large inventory of information on colleges across the nation. Under the site's 'Find Colleges' page, students can look for colleges in their area. A school locator tool allows students to search colleges by their distance from a given ZIP code. Once students have their results, they may click on each college for more school information, such as:

  • Graduation rates
  • Costs
  • Majors
  • Application procedures

American Association of Community Colleges

Students who want to attend a community college instead of a 4-year college can find 2-year colleges in their area through the American Association of Community Colleges' Community College Finder. This tool allows individuals to search by visual map, city or ZIP code. Students may also search for schools based on their size or other attributes.

There are several online tools that enable prospective students to locate colleges in their area. Often, they also allow students to explore additional features of local schools, like size and degree offerings.

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