Resources for locating available schools are available for the U.S. Department of Education and the College Board. Students interested in particular fields may also use specialized online search tools.
Helpful Resources to Locate Schools
Schools, nonprofit organizations and government agencies all offer online tools to help students find schools in their area that offer the educational programs they seek. Offline, students may consult with school guidance counselors, and adults looking to return to school for job retraining may receive guidance from their state's unemployment office or department of labor.
Online Search Tools
The following organizations and websites provide helpful resources for students looking to find schools in their area:
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education provides multiple online search tools to help students locate accredited institutions in their area. The database of schools accredited by a recognized accreditation organization or state approval agency allows search by name of an institution or accrediting agency. 'State or outlying area' is an advanced search parameter. The department also provides a global locator that allows a searcher to run queries for public and private schools, colleges and public libraries based on the following criteria:
- Zip code
- Number of miles from a zip code
The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics website provides interactive school locator features through its College Navigator tool. Prospective students can search for colleges by state or within a preset radius of a local zip code. College Navigator has the capability of refining a search base on the following characteristics, among others:
- Level of award
- Institution type
- Tuition and fees
- Campus setting
- Distance learning programs
- Number of undergraduate students
- Athletic teams
The College Board
The College Board is a nonprofit organization that administers the SAT, CLEP and Advanced Placement (AP) tests. The College Board also offers an online College Search tool that indexes over 3,700 colleges and universities. Prospective students can search by location, focusing on a region, state or zip code. Other search options allow students to refine the search by:
- Selectivity of admission
- GPA requirements
- Extracurricular activities
- Housing options
Specialized Search Tools
A number of sites on the web can help a prospective student locate colleges by specific areas of study. For example, Boston College has a law school locator that allows a searcher to find a school where his or her admission scores are competitive. Professional organizations often have school locators to help students find institutions near them that offer a professional training program. The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps offers a locator that helps searchers find an Air Force ROTC detachment that may suit their needs. The database is searchable by state or school name.
One of the easiest ways for prospective students to find schools in their area is to use a reliable online search tool. These websites often have additional filtering criteria to help students identify schools that meet all of their needs.