If you're trying to figure out how to find quality, affordable colleges but don't know what you don't know, this is the place to start.
I'm listing resources that I think you should know about that will help you navigate the college search process. If you have any suggestions, please let me know so I can include them.
50-50 Colleges PDF lists over 400 colleges that accept at least 50% of students and have at least a 50% graduation rate.
What You Need to Know: This is a different approach to finding colleges. Rather than limiting college choice by rankings, this list expands the possibilities based on accessibility and chances of graduation. If nothing else, it will provide a different perspective.
The Source from the Missouri Department of Higher Education is a comprehensive 23 page overview of the admissions process.
What You Need to Know: Before you spend money on college guides, use this free version so you can decide which approach will work best for you.
The College Planning Guide for Student Athletes 16 page guide from the New Hampshire Higher education Assistance Foundation.
What You Need to Know: If you're planning on playing sports in college, you've just add an entirely new layer to what you don't know and this is a good place to start.
7 Days to a Smarter College List 26 page PDF that walks you step by step on how to create a college list.
What You Need to Know: Most people don't create college lists with affordability in mind. And they don't know how to evaluate colleges they have never heard of. This guide shows you how to do both.
College Application Tracker Spreadsheet tracks your college application deadlines. Includes a financial timeline.
What You Need to Know: Even if your child isn't a senior, seeing all the things you need to keep track of will help understand what to pay attention to during your search.
College Results Online allows the most flexibility in searching for colleges and downloading data for use. Be sure to use the Similar College Option.
What You Need to Know: Other search websites often make it difficult to search or compare colleges on financial information.
Fair Test lists colleges that do not use the SAT/ACT to admit a substantial number of students.
What You Need to Know: The 800 colleges on the website include schools that use tests for placement and many non-traditional four-year colleges.
Financial Aid Time beginning sophomore year in high schools with resources links.
What You Need to Know: waiting to understand the financial aid process until after you applied can dramatically raise the cost of college.
Vermont Student Assistant Corporation's 35 page Paying for College Guide.
What You Need to Know: This is a great way to start figuring out what you don't know and decide what else to start researching.
Taking the time to look at the following resources on financial aid award letters is a good way to identify issues you need to consider as you start creating your college list.
Guide To Financial Aid, The FAFSA, and CSS CSS Profile has the best overview of financial aid and EFC with a table of estimate EFC by Adjusted Gross Income.
What You Need to Know: If you don't want to take the time to use an EFC calculator, start here. If you only read one thing on financial aid, this is it.
24 Places to Get Help with the FAFSA Listing of online and in-person resources for help in completing the FAFSA.
What You Need to Know: You don't just have to post your question to some Facebook Group. These are resources that will provide you with knowledgeable answers to your questions.
College Board EFC Calculator is the only calculator that users to choose the federal or institutional methodology.
What You Need to Know: There are 2 formulas for calculating your EFC. You need to know which ones the schools are using that you're applying to.
Compare actual financial award letters from 6 colleges at Financial Aid Letter.com.
What You Need to Know: good way to start understanding how much colleges can vary in financial aid awards.
Step-by-Step FAFSA Tutorial is provided on the Edvisors website.
What You Need to Know: Avoid making common mistakes that can reduce your financial aid award.
Khan academy has a series of videos showing a CSS PROFILE walkthrough.
What You Need to Know: Over 200 schools require a second financial aid form for instituitonal aid called the PROFILE.
Download PDF Version-no email required!