Here are my 3 favorite college search sites. Each of these website has its advantages so checking more than one is a good idea.
1. College Navigator- I recommend that students start at this site more than any other. This is the official college search site of the US Department of Education. You can search for colleges by a number of different criteria but I particularly like the ability to look at the retention and graduation rates of different colleges.
2. College Board College Search – This site allows students to search for even more criteria than the previous site. The other thing I really like about the the College Board web site is the financial information provided for each college that is identified. This is one of the few sites that tells a student the average amount of need met by each college’s financial aid department.
3. Princeton Review– Princeton Review’s Counselor-O-Matic asks questions in a fun way to make the process of finding the right college more interesting. Unfortunately, in the past, the colleges that were identified were often not appropriate. Think a guy having an all woman’s college as one of their options. They are working to improve the search engine. The nice thing about the Princeton Review site is that once it identifies a possible college you can also find similar colleges.
Using these three sites together can help a student put together a preliminary list of colleges. But do not rely on such a list alone. You need to research each of the identified colleges in more detail starting with the websites of each college. And as I have discussed here before, I always recommend visiting a college before making the final decision of where to apply.
Of course, if you really want to find the best colleges for your needs, you should consider hiring a professional college admission consultant.