five helpful websites for your college planning
Posted : August 12, 2009
Last Updated : June 29, 2016
Planning for college can be overwhelming. Where do you even begin? Here are five helpful websites that should make planning for college a little easier.
Obviously you are somewhat familiar with eCampusTours.com since you are reading this article, but you may not know about all the resources this site has to offer. All of our services are completely free of charge, and we don't distribute your information to any companies or schools unless requested by you. Just register for an account to enjoy the full benefits of this site:
Virtual tours. eCampusTours features 360° x 360° virtual tours of over 1,300 college campuses. From dorm rooms to classrooms, these tours allow you to see what college life is really like. If you like what you see in the virtual campus tour, you can search the college website, contact the college's admission office, or save the virtual college tour in your eCampusTours profile. (Note: Account registration is only required in order to save a tour to your profile, not for viewing the tours.)
Newsletter. Our monthly college planning e-newsletter features articles about choosing a college, student financial aid, campus life, career exploration, student loans, scholarships, and more. It also provides monthly reminders for high school and college students.
Scholarship opportunities. eCampusTours offers a free scholarship search to help you find money for college. You can also register for our $1,000 scholarship giveaway.
College funding guide. You can download a copy of "How to Get Money for College" and get updated financial aid information about Federal Pell Grants, amounts of aid, state aid, veteran affairs, vocational rehabilitation, student loan deductibility, and more. Once you create an account, you can find the link to download the college funding guide under "my profile."
If you have taken or plan to take the ACT, be sure to sign up for an account at actstudent.org. This account gives you free access to viewing your ACT scores online and establishes an email address to receive direct communication and reminders from ACT. Some of the other features on the site include:
ACT test prep. This section of the site gives you tips on preparing for the ACT. From tips about calculators to test day procedures, you will find all you need to know to be fully prepared to take the ACT.
World-of-Work Map. The World-of-Work Map graphically shows how occupations relate to each other based on work functions. When you receive scores from one of ACT's assessments, you receive a personalized report that suggests career areas for you to explore.
The first and most important step in getting money for college is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov. The FAFSA is the form you need to complete in order to see if you are eligible for any kind of federal financial aid, such as grants, student loans, and work-study. Even if you don't think you are eligible for financial aid, you should still fill it out because many states and schools also use it to award non-federal aid. You should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st of the year prior to which you need aid. For example, if you plan to attend college beginning in the fall of 2017, you may submit your FAFSA after October 1, 2016, using your parent's 2015 tax return. When filing the FAFSA be sure to use fafsa.ed.gov because other similar sites may charge a fee to submit the form.
Registering with the NCAA Eligibility Center, formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse, is a requirement for any student-athlete who plans to play NCAA division I or II sports. The Eligibility Center is the one place that all division I and II member institutions use to verify the core grade point average, test scores, and the number of core classes for each student-athlete. If you are a student-athlete who wants to compete at collegiate level, review the Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete and follow the directions for registration on eligibilitycenter.org. Use this website as your guide throughout high school in order to compete in athletics at the collegiate level.
In order to cut out a lot of the time and work that comes with applying to colleges, you may want to utilize the Common Application at commonapp.org. The Common Application is an organization that benefits students by providing one admission application that students may submit to any 600+ participating colleges and universities. This application can be only be completed via the online application system; paper applications are no longer accepted.
For more information about planning for college, please contact your high school counselor.