Researching US Colleges

By Rajkamal Rao

Go back to Checklist for Traditional Undergrads   

There are hundreds of websites that provide high-quality information about studying in the US but four outstanding non-commercial websites are: 

  1. College Navigator  - There are many ways to search for schools and obtain information but we believe the best database of schools is maintained by the US Department of Education and is a superb way to initially identify schools.  Within a few clicks you can set up your own custom searches and look for schools (both undergraduate and graduate) based on whether they are private or public; estimated tuition costs; and the campus location/setting.  You can pinpoint school locations with an interactive map, export search results into a spreadsheet and save your session including search options and favorites;

  2. College Board - A not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity.  You can also get information about pSAT and SAT tests here.

  3. If you simply want a listing of colleges, universities, community colleges and vocational schools at the local, city and state level, including a Google Maps interactive feature, go to  

  4. College Atlas - This is a non-commercial site which relies on contribution time from volunteers; and content/information from educators.

  5. For undergrad students, a private company, Parchment.   When students are admitted to multiple colleges, they must choose just one to attend; this reveals their preference for the chosen school compared to the other schools that admitted the student but were not chosen. After observing enough of these decisions, Parchment can rank the colleges based on the students' revealed preferences. 

    The site allows students to use recommendation engine filters to select academics - such as SAT scores and grades.  Based on these inputs and information contained in a massive database of prior successful applicants, the tool statistically predicts which schools other peer students with similar qualifications are likely to get in to. 

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