College Search Tips

Many college-help Web sites will allow you to do searches to help you find colleges and information about them. These tips will help with those searches.
First of all, you do not have to fill in all the search fields. If you are only interested in finding colleges that match certain criteria, only fill in those fields. For example, if you are looking to find any school that matches your ACT scores, you can only enter your scores and then do the search. This will give you a long list of possible matches.
You do not necessarily have to use the tuition or cost search field. Most colleges will say that any student who is qualified will be accepted, regardless of his or her financial situation. Be careful not to exclude colleges simply because of tuition prices. However, if you are very concerned that this will be a determining factor in your college choice, using the tuition search field may be a good option.
If you decide that your list of results is too long, it may be possible to use the AND/OR feature. Just as Web searches use this feature to limit results, many college search sites will allow you to narrow your search by using the word ‘AND’ when you are entering your criteria. You may also find that your list of results is too short. If this is the case, one problem could be with the major college search field. Most searches will only look for the specific major that you enter. If a college does not have that major, it will exclude it from the list, even though the school may offer a major that is very similar. For example, if you are interested in majoring in carpentry, many schools do not have that as a listed major. Instead, you may have to enter ‘building construction’ into the search field to find a college that offers what you are seeking.
A similar problem that you might have is a major that is too specific or one that is an endorsement at certain schools. For example, if you are interested in majoring in journalism, some schools will not have a major that specific but still offer a program. In this case, a school might have mass communications as the major with an endorsement in journalism. Be aware of this when performing a search.
Another thing that can limit your list of results is your ACT or SAT score. Search engines will look for schools that are in a certain range of your score. For example, if your ACT score is 25, the search could give you schools for scores of 21 to 27. However, a school you are interested in with a search criteria a score of 28 could still accept you with your high class rank. If this happens, you might consider changing your score in the field or removing it altogether to get more results.


Last Updated: June 18, 2021