There are about 3,700 two- and four-year colleges in the U.S. With so many to choose from, how can you find the best fit for you? A college search engine is the best place to start. You can filter your results by location, school size, tuition costs, selectivity or other factors. Some even feature reviews from students.
To help you get started, we’ve collected a few college search engines from around the web. If you’re putting together your college list, check out these 10 online tools.
College Board offers one of the best search tools around with BigFuture. You can find colleges by test scores, location, majors, support services and diversity.
If you create an account, you can save your favorite colleges and revisit them later. In addition to its college finder, College Board offers tips on how to apply for financial aid or explore careers.
Cappex is another top resource and college search engine. You can search through thousands of schools, plus you can estimate your chances of admission based on your GPA and admission test scores.
You can also use the “Fit Score” to gauge whether a college could be a good match for you. The fit meter assigns a percentage to each school based on your preferences, like school size and tuition cost. If you get 90% or higher, the school could be a great fit.
Finally, you can estimate your chances of gaining admission to specific schools by inputting your grade and test score information.
Some college search websites let you save a list of your favorites, but College Insight takes things a step further. With College Insight, you can build tables with any combination of variables to compare colleges. You can pick out the most relevant data and information to compare schools in a way that makes sense for you.
You might know College Confidential as a discussion forum, but the college search site also offers a comprehensive tool. The filters don’t get as specific as some other sites, but they’re enough to help you start building a college list. Once you narrow your results, you can learn about each school’s acceptance rate, tuition costs and test scores, among other essential facts.
Niche is another great resource for learning about colleges across the country. After narrowing down your list, you’ll see that each college comes with a “report card” and overall grade.
Niche gives grades for professors, athletics, dorms and safety, among other concerns. Plus, it creates its rankings based on data from the U.S. Department of Education (DoED) so that you can browse colleges by state or major.
Unigo mixes up the traditional college search format. Instead of selecting filters, you’ll answer questions through a college match quiz. Then, Unigo will match you with colleges based on your responses. You can learn about each school, as well as read unbiased student reviews.
Besides its college search engine, Unigo also helps you find scholarships.
College Navigator is a free college search tool offered by the DoED’s National Center for Education Statistics. Although the design of the website isn’t exactly slick, it’s a thorough directory with up-to-date info.
You can filter schools by location, selectivity, sports teams and other criteria. Plus, you can indicate tuition costs and your state of residency; the tool will even take into account in-state versus out-of-state tuition.
Use College Navigator for a no-frills look at facts and figures.
College Simply doesn’t have a ton of search filters, but it does collect a huge number of student reviews. You can find schools by test scores, state, ranking or acceptance rate.
Then, learn some basic facts about each college and read through reviews. Although College Simply isn’t as thorough as some other college search tools, it’s a useful place to start.
Over 4.2 million students use College Xpress to find colleges and browse rankings. In addition to getting matched with schools, you can scan over $7 billion in scholarship opportunities.
After you create an account, you’ll be able to sign back in later to revisit your college list or track your scholarship applications.
If you’re just beginning the college search process, Peterson’s College Search tool could be a good starting point. Its College Discovery Center provides pre-made lists of schools categorized by major or field.
You can also use the site’s search function to narrow your results by major, location or another keyword. From there, Peterson’s delivers the same filtering functionality as its competitors.
Finally, Peterson’s is something of a one-stop shop, with its additional resources for test preparation and scholarships.
All these college search engines contain a wealth of information about schools across the country. But to make the most of them, you first need to reflect on what you want out of college.
To get started, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I want to stay close to home or go across the country?
- Would I prefer a rural, suburban or urban setting?
- Am I looking for a small, medium or big school?
- Do I care about the professor-to-student ratio?
- What am I looking for regarding majors, student organizations or sports teams?
Once you’ve figured out what you want in a college, use a college search engine to find schools that match your preferences. As you finalize your list, use these tips to compare colleges and select the one that’s best for you.
Andrew Pentis contributed to this report.
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|2.49% – 13.85%1||Undergraduate|
|2.55% – 11.44%2||Undergraduate|
|3.25% – 13.59%3||Undergraduate|
|0.00% – 23.00%4||Undergraduate|
|3.25% – 9.69%6||Undergraduate|
|* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC.. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 9/15/2022. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
2 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.47% APR to 13.03% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 2.80% APR to 11.69% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.
3 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
4 Important Disclosures for Edly.
1. Loan Example:
About this example
The initial payment schedule is set upon receiving final terms and upon confirmation by your school of the loan amount. You may repay this loan at any time by paying an effective APR of 23%. The maximum amount you will pay is $22,500 (not including Late Fees and Returned Check Fees, if any). The maximum number of regularly scheduled payments you will make is 60. You will not pay more than 23% APR. No payment is required if your gross earned income is below $30,000 annually or if you lose your job and cannot find employment.
2. Edly Student IBR Loans are unsecured personal student loans issued by FinWise Bank, a Utah chartered commercial bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to eligibility criteria and review of creditworthiness and history. Terms and conditions apply.
5 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
6 Important Disclosures for Funding U.
Funding U Disclosures
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are made by Funding University which is a for-profit enterprise. Funding University is not affiliated with the school you are attending or any other learning institution. None of the information contained in Funding University’s website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by Funding University or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.