High school students now have it harder than ever to find the most effective college information. In this article, I will break down the best websites in no particular order that helped me in my college search process, so you don't have to venture through the entire Internet to find information.
1) A good starting point: actual college websites.
Using actual college websites is beneficial for quick information and when you want fast facts about a school. However, college websites are often very basic, and like brochures flooding mailboxes, often show the best in the schools. These websites will gloss over the negatives. So when only needing basic information and ignoring biases, college-created websites can be very useful.
2) YouTube Channels About College
YouTube channels about college admissions, college tours (such as this video above of a student's tour of Princeton University), the best college, choosing a college, college survival tips and any other pieces of advice are great! The best things about YouTube channels are that they are effective for learning about personal college experiences, and they are great to watch actual footage/visuals of a college. My favorite channels include Crimson Education, Katherout, Lottie Smalley, SuperTutor.Tv, Brooke Miccio, Allie Merwin, Joi Wade, CollegeHumor, College Life Presents and actual university channels.
I swear by Cappex. I used Cappex throughout my entire senior year. Cappex lets students look at reviews, photos, essential stats, chances of getting in, scholarships and colleges that are the best fit for them, including the ability to create lists of potential colleges.
College Board's Big Future is the go-to website. Just after standardized tests, College Board connects students to colleges that want them, so Big Future is right there for students to access! Big Future also lets students narrow college options by category and explore potential colleges in a user-friendly format. While I do think some of the statistics and visuals may be outdated, Big Future is a beginner tool that all high school students should use.
I also swear by Unigo. By far, Unigo is the most personal, effective and user-friendly. There are three main benefits Unigo provides. Unigo lets students apply to easy and fun lottery scholarships, explore universities like other websites and (my favorite part) read reviews and ratings of each university. The last component minimizes college biases and gives personal, student-relevant feedback for a variety of categories, ranging from the type of students to dining hall food. Unigo makes the college search process feel real and showcases what matters to students just like those looking at the screen. Unigo effectively highlights what is the best and the worst at each university.
Chegg, while also a great website for college textbooks and studying, works as a college search tool like Cappex and Unigo. Chegg lets students look at college profiles and explore several subcategories to find their best fit.
Niche seems to be the catch-all website for college information. Also providing data for high schools and neighborhoods, Niche ranks colleges and supplies crucial stats. For the hard-crunching numbers, consider Niche.
The Princeton Review's College section is great for advice, rankings, exploring college guides and getting comprehensive reviews of colleges. The Princeton Review is also great for studying and purchasing test prep books.
10) And for a more specific option, but one college students swear by: Rate My Professor
For determining the best schools for a specific major and the best (and worst teachers) for classes, students frequently use Rate My Professor. Rate My Professor compiles rankings, popular keywords in reviews, and reviews for many teachers per university. If you want to explore classes and quality of instruction, I strongly suggest Rate My Professor.
I have just given you a breakdown of the best college search tools and websites. I hope students can now easily find information. But these are mine and other articles' opinions, so feel free to check these out for yourself to decide. Happy college search!
Lead Image and Video Credits: Wikimedia Commons, YouTube