Guide to College Admissions

Guide to College Admissions

If you’re just starting your college admissions journey, we have information, advice, and tips on navigating this complicated process.

The college application process can be demanding. College bound students have a lot to think about. In fact, your junior year and senior year of high school can be quite intense.

From attending college fairs to completing your standardized tests; from college campus tours to locking in an excellent final high school transcript, you have a ton to think about. Fortunately for you, we’re here to help.

This is your portal to college admissions, with everything from tips and rankings to help your college search to resources for navigating financial aid opportunities and scholarships. You can jump directly into your search for the best school by checking out our most popular college and university rankings. Or you can read on to learn more about the college admissions process.

Female student laughing with her phone

Are you considering going to an online college or attending college on campus? Are you looking for a community college or a four-year bachelor’s degree program? Public or private school? A large research university or a small liberal arts college? And once you figure all that out, what are the next steps in the college admissions process?

Read on for tips on how to select the colleges where you’ll ultimately be submitting your application.


Accreditation is a critical part of the college search. Be sure that you understand accreditation. Before you begin your college search, learn more about the major types of accreditation and what they mean.

How to Find The Best Schools

To start your search with a look at the best brick & mortar schools in the U.S., check out some of our top college and university rankings.

College Search Tools

Check out our College Search Tools, including our Custom College Rankings and our College Strategist, to build your college search.

For a look at some of our other favorite college search resources, check out:

How to Find the Best Online Schools

Check out some of our most popular online college rankings:

Flexible Online Degree Options

There are also all kinds of specialized online degree options that you could consider including:

Helpful Tips For Choosing Online Schools

Not sure how to start your online college search? Check out our helpful tips.

Thinking of getting your college degree online? Check out our Guide to Online Degrees.

Search for Colleges By State

More students than ever before are applying to colleges close to home. Whether you’re an online student who wishes to visit colleges before applying or a high school student looking to save money by attending a public university in-state, it makes sense to begin your college search within your state. Fortunately, we have numerous ways to break down your local college search.

Group of smiling students

Guide to Community Colleges

If you’re at the beginning of your college search, now is a great time to think about options like community college. Community college may be more affordable and accessible. Moreover, many community colleges have an extremely wide range of online associate degree options. Find out more about community college options with a look at the following tips and resources:

For additional tips and resources, find out:

Guide to Christian Colleges

Students seeking a faith-based education or a higher education from within a community of faith have a number of excellent options to choose from.

Jump to our rankings of:

You can also start your search with our Guide to the Best Christian Colleges and Universities.

Guide to the Elite Schools

If you plan to begin your college search at the very top, jump in with a look at The Best Universities in the World.

Or learn a bit more with a look at:

College Ranking Insights

If you’re considering the top universities, we’re guessing you’ve consulted some of the major college rankings. Before you make your ultimate decision, make sure you know what these rankings really mean:

Back to Top

The College Application Process

From selecting schools and submitting test scores to writing your personal statement and securing letters of recommendation, from connecting with faculty members and applying for federal loans to hitting application deadlines and anticipating that acceptance letter, you will likely spend the better part of your junior year and senior year navigating college applications.

Our guide to applying for college includes comprehensive tips on everything from filling out our your applications and submitting test scores to early decision advice and application material checklists.

Read on for step by step tips on your college application process. Or

Find out what you must do to get into your dream college.

Filling Out Your College Applications

Get tips on everything from important deadlines to how and when to submit test scores:

Additional College Admissions Tips

Get support as you work to complete college applications.

Applying to Elite Schools

Planning to attend an elite school? Applying to elite schools like Harvard and Stanford has never been more competitive. Find out everything you need to know to compete.

Woman resting her head on a stack of books

Additional Admissions Support

Looking for other support resources? Check out a few of our tips and insights on the admissions process:

Back to Top

College Admissions Consultants

College admissions are more competitive than ever before. So how can you deliver the college application that college admissions officers are looking for? A growing number of high school students are working with College Admissions Consultants (CAC).

Consulting comes in all shapes and sizes. Prospective students can receive basic help on improving standardized test scores and refining their school search or pay for comprehensive coaching packages designed to help gain admission into their dream school.

But there are a lot of options to choose from. Read on to find out more.

Overview of College Admissions Consulting

Find out what college admissions consulting is and how it could help you navigate everything from nailing your College Board exams to preparing applications for multiple schools at once:

Tips for Finding the Best College Admissions Consultant for You

Get started on your college admissions consultant search with:

College Admissions Consulting Insights

Find out how the College Admissions Consulting process really works, and see what impact it may be having on the college admissions landscape.

Find the Best College Admissions Consultants By State

One of the best ways to start your search for a great College Admissions Consultant is to look for one in your home state, or the state where you plan to attend college. You can get started with a look at some of the most popular college destinations below.

Don’t see your home state here? Get the complete state listing and more with a look at our Guide to College Admissions Consultants

Two young students standing in a school hallway
Back to Top

Paying for College

When it comes to the cost of college, the sticker price is only part of the story. Beyond tuition, you’ll be paying for housing, fees, food, text books, and more. But you may be able to factor in federal student aid and scholarships. In other words, paying for college can be complicated. Use our guides to simplify the process.

Read on for focused guides on everything from affordability to student loan repayment. Or

You can get started by taking a comprehensive dive into the real costs of college once you factor in everything from financial aid packages and scholarship opportunities to campus fees and tuition.


With the constantly rising cost of college, affordability is a major factor for many students.

Begin your search with a look at either:

You can also check out our:

For ways to reduce the cost of your higher education, start with our Guide to Affordable Degrees.

Financial Aid

The U.S. Department of Education provides more than $120 billion in federal student aid every year to help students pay for college, graduate school, or career school. Most U.S. citizens planning to attend an accredited college, university, or vocational school are eligible for some form of federal financial aid. Learn more about need-based grants, federal student loans, state-based college loans, tuition reimbursement, and other specialized financial aid programs.


Scholarships provide free money for college students and those who plan to attend graduate school. Read on to learn the difference between need-based grants and merit-based scholarships, get tips on improving your chances of earning a scholarship, and find out how to kick off your scholarship search whether you’re looking for the perfect college or preparing to earn a graduate degree.

Insights on the Cost of College

Read on for a deeper understanding of key issues impacting students, especially the rising cost of college tuition and the growing student loan debt.

Do you have a question about this topic? Ask it here