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College Planning Resources and Websites


This list of college planning websites provides information on choosing a college, college applications, financial aid and scholarships, college admissions, test prep, and college counseling.


College Applications

Common Application – The Common Application (common app) allows students to complete one admission application that may be submitted to any of 456 participating colleges and universities.  The application can be completed online or in print.

California State University system – provides application and admission information regarding the California State University system.

University of California system – provides application and admission information regarding the University of California system.

California Community College system – provides application and information regarding the California Community College system.


College Visits and Tours

Collegeweeklive – streams real time college fairs and interviews with college reps

College Confidential – Insights and reviews on colleges from the voice of college students

eCampusTours – offers virtual tours of over 1,300 college campuses.


Preparing for and Finding a College

Collegexpress – Tailor your college search by categories such as “colleges with excellent nursing programs.”

Big Future College Board – offers information on planning for college, comparing schools, and registering and preparing for the SAT and AP tests.

I’m First – college search tool featuring success stories, colleges, and tips geared towards first-generation students.

College Navigator – A comprehensive database of colleges provided by the U.S. Department of Education, which allows you to do side-by-side comparisons of schools.  Your search criteria can include specific states, distance from a specified zip code, type of degree offered, public or private institution, and major(s).


SAT and ACT Test Prep and Registration

   ACT – offers information on registering and taking the ACT test.

Khan Academy – offers FREE full-length SAT practice exams

SAT College Board – offers information on planning for college, comparing schools, and registering and preparing for the SAT and AP tests.


Financial Aid and Scholarships

FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid.  The FAFSA is the form you must 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 colleges also use it to award non-federal aid.

FastWeb – Free online scholarship search

College Solutions – Lynn O’Shaunessy writes for CBS Money Watch and is a leading expert on financial aid and affording college.


Career Exploration

California Career Café – Explore career pathways, personal strengths, and interests with this online tool

O*Net - Detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more!

Gallup Strengths Center -
Take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment and discover your top 5 strengths. Learn how your "signature strengths" help you excel, and begin your path to better performance and higher engagement. Intended as an introduction to strengths, this solution is ideal for people who want a quick, focused approach to strengths-based development.
California Reality Check -  Forming a budget is one of the most important parts of financial success. As you first enter the workforce, or even if you switch jobs, knowing how much money you will have available to spend on different aspects of your life will help you avoid debt and possibly even save some money for a rainy day.


Personal Statements

College Essay Guy – resources and tutorials to help students write winning personal statements from a screenwriting perspective.

Essay Hell – resources and tutorials to help students write strong personal statements drawing on “New Journalism” story-telling techniques.

John Hopkins Essays that Worked – review exemplary personal statements submitted by applicants


High School Athletes

NCAA Eligibility Center – Registering is a requirement for any student who plans to play NCAA division I or II sports.