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    Resources to Prepare You for College Admissions 

    Posted by Samantha Genzer

    Navigating the college admissions process can feel overwhelming, but with the right resources, you can tackle each step with confidence. Here are ten valuable resources to help you prepare for college admissions!

    Picking Schools

    Before even starting your application process, shortlist your top 5-7 schools and start to narrow down potential majors. College search and ranking tools provide valuable insights into academic quality, campus life, and financial aid offerings, helping you make an informed decision. Here are several top resources to assist you in your college search.

    U.S. News & World Report College Rankings 

    U.S. News & World Report provides comprehensive college rankings and detailed profiles of colleges and universities. This resource can help you compare institutions based on various criteria, including academic quality, campus life, and financial aid offerings.

    Their ranking methodology considers factors like:

    • Graduation rates
    • Faculty resources
    • Financial resources
    • Academic reputation
    • Graduate indebtedness
    • Student satisfaction

    U.S. News also offers specialized rankings for specific programs and fields of study, such as pre-law, pre-med, engineering, and business.

    Niche

    If you are looking for a more personalized take on college options, Niche is your go-to platform. It offers in-depth reviews and rankings of colleges from the people who know them best: current and former students. It’s like having a backstage pass to every campus.

    One of the “niche-est” features is its user-generated content. Students and alumni leave reviews and ratings on various aspects of their college experience, from campus safety and housing to dining and extracurricular activities for a real, unfiltered look at school life.

    Niche also provides comprehensive data on academic offerings, admissions statistics, and financial aid. You can find information on acceptance rates, average SAT/ACT scores, and graduation rates, helping you gauge your chances of acceptance.

    Plus, Niche ranks colleges in various categories like Best Colleges for Business, Best Colleges for Engineering, and Best Colleges for Pre-Med, making it easier to find schools that excel in your field of interest.

    College Essay

    When writing your college essay, review the prompts on the Common Application and Coalition Application websites. Whether you use these prompts or not, seek advice and guidance from the following resources to develop a compelling narrative showcasing your unique experiences and strengths.

    College Essay Guy 

    Ethan Sawyer, the College Essay Guy, provides a wealth of free resources and advice on writing college essays. His website includes brainstorming exercises, essay examples, and step-by-step guides to help you through the writing process. He also gives personalized coaching and workshops.

    Prompt

    Prompt offers a platform where experienced essay coaches give feedback on your college essays. Their services range from detailed critiques to full editing, helping you write the strongest possible essay.

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    Standardized Test Prep & Tutoring

    Standardized test scores play a significant role in college admissions, and preparing adequately can make a big difference in your application. In fact, standardized tests are making a huge comeback and many colleges will begin requiring students to submit their scores starting in 2025.

    Whether you’re gearing up for the SAT, ACT, or AP exams, utilizing reliable test preparation resources can help you achieve your best possible scores. Here are three essential resources to support your test preparation efforts.

    Khan Academy 

    Khan Academy offers free, personalized SAT prep in partnership with the College Board, providing practice tests, instructional videos, and a personalized study plan based on your PSAT/NMSQT or SAT scores. This platform is particularly beneficial for students looking for high-quality prep without the cost.

    PrepScholar 

    PrepScholar offers online courses and personalized tutoring for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. PrepScholar focuses on creating customized study plans based on your strengths and weaknesses, helping you to target specific areas for improvement.

    Varsity Tutors 

    Varsity Tutors offers personalized tutoring services for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT. This platform connects students with experienced tutors for one-on-one sessions, and they also provide online resources, practice tests, and group classes.

    Campus Visits

    Visiting college campuses is a game-changer in your decision-making process. It’s your chance to feel out the campus vibe and see if it matches your style. Plus, you get to ask all those burning questions directly to students, faculty, and admissions officers and get answers in real-time — way better than reading about it online.

    YouVisit College Tours

    YouVisit offers virtual campus tours for hundreds of colleges and universities. These immersive tours give you a feel for the campus environment, facilities, and student life, helping you make a more informed decision about where to apply.

    Paying and Tuition

    Paying for college can be a significant concern for many students and families. Scholarships and financial aid resources can alleviate this burden by connecting you with funding opportunities. Here is a leading resource to help you navigate the financial aspects of college admissions.

    FastWeb

    Fastweb is a scholarship search platform connecting students with scholarships, grants, and financial aid opportunities. It also offers college search tools and expert advice on financial planning for college. Fastweb’s database is updated regularly to provide access to the latest scholarship opportunities.

    Application Tools and Advice

    College Confidential

    College Confidential is an online community where students, parents, and educators discuss college admissions. It’s a great place to ask questions, share experiences, and get advice on everything from choosing a college to writing application essays.

    CollegeVine

    CollegeVine offers a platform where you can get personalized advice on your college applications. It includes essay guides, application tips, and a peer essay review service. The CollegeVine community also offers Q&A forums and live streams with admissions experts.

    Accepted 

    Accepted offers various resources, including blog posts, podcasts, and forums, on college and graduate school admissions. Topics cover everything from essays and interviews to application strategies.

    While the college admissions journey may seem daunting, the multitude of resources available can significantly ease the process. From picking the right schools using tools to perfecting your college essays, these resources will guide you through each part of the journey, equipping you to take on the college admissions process and find the perfect school. Good luck!

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    Samantha Genzer

    Samantha Genzer

    Samantha Genzer is a student at Boston University, where she is pursuing degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and Business Administration. As the City Section Editor of the university's newspaper, The Daily Free Press, she channels her passion for writing into exploring and reporting on urban issues. Samantha is also a sports broadcast journalist for GSMC Sports Network, working on a show titled "Hoops and Heels Women's Sports Podcast." Samantha has also participated in numerous plays, infusing her love for the stage into her creative expressions. Her dedication to both the arts and journalism defines her unique approach to storytelling.

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