The following websites are recommended resources for your college planning process. They have been chosen for their accuracy as well as their capacity to expand your awareness of important information about the college admission process. They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Best College Fit.
National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
NACAC is the professional association of which most colleges and universities are members. This site includes a comprehensive orientation to the college process for students and their parents covering topics such as college preparation, scholarship scams, international student resources and online resources:
A Guide to Ethical Behavior in the College Going Process
NACAC has articulated important statements intended to define appropriate behavior by those involved in the college selection process. In particular, it's Statement of Principles of Good Practice offers insight into how colleges are expected to engage students and their families.
Not sure you know what you want to be when you grow up? Count yourself among a VERY large group of people. In fact, most college students change their minds at least once. If you would like to begin sorting out your options now, though, check out this site:
At some point in your college planning you will need to use a college search mechanism in order to find places that are good fits given your needs and interests. The following are two of the most comprehensive sources of such information:
Campus Safety and Crime Statistics
According to the federal Clery Act, every college and university is required by law to make Campus Security Policy Statements and a report of relevant crime statistics available to prospective students.
Glossary of Terms
Completing the college-going process may require that you develop a new vocabulary! Check out this site for a complete list of terms you are likely to encounter as you make your make your way through the admission process:
Occasionally, a student's circumstances or objectives are well-served by experts, tutors or instructors who work outside of the school. While such consultants cannot guarantee outcomes, they can effectively "coach" students in the development of college lists and the presentation of credentials. The following are membership organizations, in addition to NACAC, to which most independent educational consultants belong.
As the time for testing looms on the horizon, you should be mindful of deadlines and registration requirements. Almost equal numbers of students took the ACT and the SAT during the most recent admission cycle. Check the following sites for more information about tests, dates and registration deadlines:
There is good evidence that students can improve their scores on college entrance tests (ACT and SAT) through test preparation. Best College Fit has only encountered one test prep program, however, that will increase your knowledge of the subject matter while giving you problem-solving skills that improve your score! Developed and taught by a master teacher, ePrep.com is a video-based instructional series that will make a difference in what you know and how you perform.
List of Standardized Test Optional Colleges
The rapidly growing list of accredited, four-year colleges and universities that do not require the submission of ACT or SAT scores as part of their admission requirements now exceeds 850! You can see the entire list at:
ACT/SAT Concordance Tables
The ACT and SAT are very different college entrance tests. Now that every college in the country will accept either test result, you might be interested in an approximation of how your result equates with scores on the "other" test.
The Application Process
Generic Application Forms
Interested in exploring application options that will allow you to complete one form from which you can generate applications to multiple colleges? The following links take you to websites for two organizations that provide such opportunities:
Special Interest / Needs
Information for International Students
Are you a foreign national interested in pursuing post-secondary studies in the United States? If so, check these sites to learn more about admission requirements, immigration, visas and funding sources for international students.
Immigrant students are finding increasing access to higher educational opportunities in the USA. These websites provide important information regarding steps involved with completing the admission process and securing the necessary financial assistance to make attendance possible.
LGBTQ Friendly Campuses
Increasing numbers of colleges are engaging in meaningful discourse regarding rights, opportunities and quality of life issues for LGBTQ members of their communities. This website features realted discussions and provides resources useful to LGBTQ students as they assess their college options.
Athletic Recruitment and Admission
If you are an athlete who is eager to continue competing in college at any level, scholarship or non-scholarship, you need to be aware of the rules that govern the manner in which you may be recruited and considered for admission. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) are the two associations of which most intercollegiate athletic programs are members. Visit their sites to make sure you are aware of eligibility requirements before you become involved in the recruitment process:
Students with Disabilities and the College Search
How should learning disabilities be addressed in the admission process? Does the mere presence of a disability guarantee accommodations for students once enrolled on college campuses? The following are excellent resources for families of students with learning differences as they prepare for their children's transition to postsecondary education.
Financial Aid / Scholarships
Comparing College Costs
In comparing college financial aid awards and, ultimately, college costs, it is important to compare "apples and apples". Use this spreadsheet to determine - and compare - your actual out-of-pocket expenses at the colleges to which you have been admitted.
Looking for scholarships? The following sites will give you access to scholarship information and help you assess your viability as a candidate to receive merit awards:
It you are looking for guidance in completing the financial aid process or you have received a financial aid award and aren't quite sure what to make of it, these sites provide a good orientation to the terms, the construction of financial aid award letters and how much assistance you are actually receiving:
- http://www.FinAid.org (comprehensive resource)
- http://www.fafsa.ed.gov (complete/submit FAFSA to determine eligibility for federally-administered need-based aid)
- http://student.collegeboard.org/css-financial-aid-profile (complete/submit Profile to determine eligibility for institutionally awarded need-based aid)
- http://studentloannetwork.com (information regarding loans for students and parents, lender lists, payment calculations and more)http://ticas.org/posd/home (compilation of reports regarding student debt and the borrowing experience)
- http://www.simpletuition.com/fafsa (tips, advice and interactive tools to assist students in managing college costs)
Tax Benefits for Education: Information Center
A variety of tax credits, deductions and savings plans are available to taxpayers to assist with the expense of higher education. This IRS document provides guidance with regard to how many parents and college students can offset the cost of college with the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
Methodologies Used to Determine College Rankings
Curious about college rankings? While we see rankings as unproductive distractions to those trying to find the colleges that fit them best, you might be interested in knowing how some of the more prominent ranking guides arrive at their numbers.
National Survey of Student Engagement
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) conducted annually by the Indiana University at Bloomington provides a comprehensive overview of undergraduate outcomes for participating institutions.
Find and Compare Graduation Rates
College completion rates are a good indicator that an institution is admitting well-qualified students and supporting them well through their undergraduate experiences. The Education Trust provides comprehensive data and analysis on graduation rates that make it possible to search for results for an individual college and then compare them with results with those at similar institutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why did you choose these resources?
A. We found these to be reputable resources known for their accuracy as well as their capacity to expand your awareness and understanding of the college admission process.
Q. I know of other resources I think are valuable? Are you interested in adding new sites to your list?
A. Yes! Please send the information to Info@BestCollegeFit.com and tell us what you like about the resource.