Francis PolytechnicSenior High School

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College Search Tools

How to Build a College List

Before jumping into your college search, consider these "5 Critical Questions":

1) Which colleges am I eligible for? (CSU, UC, Private, Community college)
2) What geographic area do I prefer? (close to home, same state, out of state, urban, etc.)
3) Do I prefer large, small, or medium sized campus populations?
4) What major am I interested in pursuing? Which colleges have that major?
5) What is my EFC (expected family contribution which can be calculated HERE)? Which schools will meet close to 100% of my financial need?

For a more in depth search try taking Dr. Steven Antonoff's Qualities that Make a College Right for You Assessment.
Another leading search tool for finding a college that's right for you is College Board's Big Future.  For a step by step guide on how to use Big Future Click HERE.
For students who are considered AB540 (undocumented) please click HERE for a comprehensive list of admission policies by college for AB540 students.

Searching Schools By Major, Special Interests, Etc.
Interested in finding colleges with the best nursing, engineering, or business program? Curious to learn which colleges don't require the SAT or ACT? Visit College Xpress complete your profile, click List and Rankings, and search by over 800 categories. Or even better, click HERE for a complete list of categories found on College Xpress site.

Comparing Cost of College
College Reality Check allows you to compare net price and graduation rate, two really important factors to consider when searching colleges.

California Colleges
For a list of private and public colleges in California with your major visit

Virtual College Tours
– streams real time college fairs and interviews with college reps
College Confidential – Insights and reviews on colleges from the voice of college students
– offers virtual tours of over 1,300 college campuses.

Once you've completed your college search, break your college selection list down into three categories:
  • Safety- Colleges where you'll more than likely be accepted based on your rank in comparison to applicant pool.
  • Target-  Perfect fit colleges that you should be accepted to.
  • Reach- Colleges that are highly competitive, highly impacted, pretty much all the Ivy's. 

It's recommended that you apply to at least three colleges in each category in order to broaden your chances for admission.  Please visit the college center to pick up your college application fee waiver for all private colleges.  You will complete a section on the CSU and UC application, which will determine your eligibility for fee waiver.