There is a lot to keep track of with college admissions. You might need to compare programs and deadlines for several colleges. Or you want to know what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) might be. Or you need reassurance that you’ll find a home when the college applications roller coaster stops.

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These are some of my favorite long reads, college guides, and important links. If you know another great resource, I’d love to hear about it. Drop me an email and tell me what college resources have made your life easier:

Reading List

Who Gets In and Why (2020) by Jeff Selingo (Read my review of the book here and Jeff Selingo’s article The Secrets of “Elite” College Admissions about the process of shaping a class in the final stage of admissions review.)
A “Fit” over Rankings: Why College Engagement Matters More than Selectivity (2018)
Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be (2015) excerpt by Frank Bruni

Finding the Right College

Colleges that Change Lives by Loren Pope and Hilary Masell Oswald
Fiske Guide to Colleges by Edward Fiske
College Scorecard – Compare data on colleges (lots of graphics)
College Navigator – Compare data on colleges
Big Future from College Board – Search for colleges by several factors
CollegeXpress – Lists of colleges in many categories

Financial Aid

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
FAFSA4Caster – Estimate eligibility for Federal student aid (link updated 12/2020)
Expected Family Contribution Estimate Tool from College Board (Includes estimates for both the FAFSA and CSS/Profile results)
Data on College Need Based and Merit Aid from Jeff Levy and Jennie Kent at Big J Consulting – These two IECs dig into a number of databases every year to give families an idea of how many students at individual colleges get aid, what kind of aid they get, and how much the average awards are. Remember to focus on Net Cost, not the size of the award (a big discount off of a bigger tuition might not be as good of a deal as a smaller discount off of a more affordable tuition).

Applications and More

Common Application
Coalition Application
University of California Application
Resources for University of California applications
Apply Texas

Early Decision and Regular Decision Admissions Rates – Another excellent resource from Jeff Levy and Jennie Kent at Big J Consulting. This info can help students consider the effect of applying Early Decision on acceptance at individual colleges. Remember that Early Decision is binding and will usually prevent students from comparing financial aid offers from other colleges.

Service2School – Free mentoring for military veterans applying to college, including graduate programs