10 Best Websites to Research Colleges

Pete Schauer

Marketing Director

Any type of college search on Google can easily turn up millions of results. Most of the time, users choose from the first few results, but you have to wonder what else is out there. Are there really some college websites that are truly “the best?” And if there are, what can we learn about them? What makes them better than the rest?

With the help of the U.S. News and World Report and PrepScholar, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best college websites and why they’ve earned themselves this right. Hopefully you will find these websites to be helpful and useful for all stages of the college search and selection process.

Let’s begin!

1. College Navigator

This site was created by the National Center for Educational Statistics, and it’s very useful for finding reliable data about the colleges and universities in our country. If you know the school you’re looking for, you can type it in directly. You can also search for schools based on your state or zip code. Other search features that help narrow down your search include Programs, Level of Award and Institution Type.

As you pull up various schools, you get can an at-a-glance look at each program’s cost and financial aid, admissions, programs offered, graduation rates and other important statistics. Since the information can put you at an overload, this site is best when you have an idea of what you’re looking for.

2. College Insight

This website allows you to pull up information about various schools and put the data into tables that help you compare your options. You may start with a specific college or a topic that interests you to gather data. Or, you may build your own table using different variables such as economic and racial diversity.

We recommend using this website once you have a few schools in mind that you want to compare side by side. You can choose a “focus” school and a “comparison” school to better understand how your first choice stacks up. We also recommend this site to those who care about data and statistics. If you don’t, you’ll probably find the information to be over the top.

3. Niche

What we love about Niche is that it provides a comprehensive overview of the various programs offered at different schools. To make the most of your experience, create a free account and get matched up with colleges and universities that meet your needs. The site is very complete and offers a wide variety of tools to help you discover the best schools, but somehow, it doesn’t get too overwhelming.

When you create an account, you have the option to keep a running tab of the schools you’re interested in, and you can even notify representatives from the schools that you want to get into contact with.

If you’re not sure you want to sign up for an account, dig around on the site and see how you like it. There is a lot of information that you can benefit from, such as scholarship information and a college rankings guide.

4. College Confidential

College Confidential offers discussion forums that can definitely be entertaining. Beyond that, the site has a lot of resources that can help you in your search, including articles, a financial aid calculator and college rankings.

What we enjoy about this site is that it lets you fill out your preferences using practical, real-life choices such as greek life, party scene and special services. You will likely be living on campus, so you deserve to know about the lifestyle that you will be getting yourself into.

Once you enter in your information, you will be matched with schools that best fit your needs. With over 4,500 schools (some outside the U.S.), there’s no shortage of options. You can then pin the schools that you like so that they can be reviewed later on. If you prefer to narrow down your search further, compare your top choices to see how they stack up!

5. College Results Online

When you first arrive on this website, it may feel like a blast from the past. It’s simple. It’s basic. But it contains a lot of useful information that the whole family can benefit from. For instance, many families like to think that their child will graduate in 4 years, but we all know that this often times isn’t the case!

With the help of College Results Online, you can discover all types of statistics that give you an idea of your own graduation potential thanks to gender and ethnicity breakdowns. You can also use the Advanced Search tool or Compare Colleges tool, with options to narrow down your search further based on region, cost, student characteristics and student outcomes.

6. College Majors 101

College Majors 101 isn’t the only website dedicated to sharing popular majors, but it’s definitely one of our absolute favorites. The site includes over 150 majors and breaks them down into easy menus such as Liberal Arts, Engineering and Technology and Business. Click on the major of your choice and you can learn a wealth of information such as what the occupation does, accredited schools and featured programs and videos.

This site is an excellent tool if you’re looking for basic information, or if you have a strong feeling about the major you want to pursue. Plus, the content isn’t overwhelming at any point but it manages to be complete. There’s even a recruiting tool that lets universities contact you! Talk about convenient!

7. Unigo

Unigo is definitely one of the more colorful websites on our list, and it looks like a fun place to be when you first arrive. With over 650,000 college reviews, 3.6 million scholarships and 3.3 million textbooks, Unigo is definitely the site where students can go to learn about various colleges - no fluff, no BS (their words - not ours!).

Prospective students enjoy the fact that the reviews come from their peers and are unfiltered. When there are dozens of colleges that meet your needs, all you can ask for are a few honest reviews from like-minded people. Also, Unigo has information on choosing the right scholarships and being matched with ones that actually make sense for you.

8. Fastweb

Fastweb is another site that is helpful for students looking for scholarships. There are plenty out there, but it’s difficult to find scholarships that are actually worth applying for. To make the most of Fastweb, set up an account so that you’re able to be matched to the right scholarship opportunities.

As you find scholarships and schools that fit your needs, you can organize and manage your lists and apply for scholarships. The site even features real students who have won scholarship money to attend the college of their choice - a nice reminder of what can be!  

9. Cappex

Cappex is a straightforward website the helps you find the best colleges and scholarships based on the things that matter most to you. The goal is to help you find “the one” without having to actually tour a bunch of schools and wait to see if you get the feeling.

Not only can you be matched with the best schools for your needs on Cappex, but also you may compare colleges, read reviews and review scholarships that you meet the qualifications for. There’s also a handy Cappex meter that tells you if the school of your choice is a good fit or not. If you find that your top school is right for your needs, you can schedule a campus visit right then!

10. Chegg

One final website we would like to discuss is Chegg (formerly Zinch), which is similar to Cappex since it allows you to create a profile and be matched to schools that fit your needs. Chegg keeps a running list of the schools you’re interested in once you create a profile, and you can update your list as get further in your search.

What we enjoy about this site is that it’s visually pleasing, easy to follow and practical for the typical college student. You can browse schools based on fun majors, most school spirit, high quality of life and good food. There is even a way to filter your results based on gender preference and religious affiliation. Pretty neat.

Conclusion

This list is by no means an exhaustive one. There are plenty of great college resources available that can be used at all stages of the process. This list does give you a good place to start, especially if you are just beginning to look at various colleges and universities and the scholarships they have available. A higher education is a major investment, so it makes sense to do as much research as possible!

 
About the Author: Pete Schauer

Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Pete Schauer is the Marketing Director at SEMGeeks. He holds a M.A. in Digital Communications from William Paterson University and has 8+ years in the digital space with companies such as Bleacher Report and Social Media Today in addition to SEMGeeks. His background includes creative and professional writing as well as strategic digital marketing communications and management.

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