It’s exhausting searching and scouring the internet for the right information when it comes to helping your student prepare for college. But what if you could use ONLY ONE RESOURCE and find everything you ever wanted to know about college prep? Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Here it is. I’ve done the research, examined the links and their resources, and compiled a list of 100+ college prep resources for you. (If you know of others, please leave them in the comments and I will add them to the list!)
Test prep can be overwhelming for your student. It’s a stressful process, but there are available resources to help you and your student plan for upcoming tests. Some are free, some are paid. You can find the best fit for you and your student among this list:
- College Board—You can find several resources on the College Board’s website to help you prepare for the exam. The group publishes free sample questions and free SAT practice tests so you can simulate the real deal. Practice tests come with detailed answer keys, which give you insight into how the SAT is scored. You can also join an SAT study group and follow the College Board’s sample 16-week study plan.
- Khan Academy—Khan Academy provides several free online resources for students in many courses and subjects. The College Board also partners with the organization to offer free SAT practice tests, personalized to every student. Students can work through eight exams on Khan’s website, receiving immediate feedback on their progress.
- The Princeton Review—Provides several free SAT resources on its website. You can take a free SAT practice test online and receive comprehensive feedback. You can also participate in free online courses. If you’re interested in taking advantage of The Princeton Review’s self-paced SAT prep program but aren’t sure whether you want to pay the full amount, consider participating in a 14-day free trial.
- Kaplan—Known for its high-quality test prep resources, Kaplan runs several online prep courses. Although many of these require payment, the company also offers a free on-demand SAT practice test. After completing the test, students will receive a detailed score report. They can also access instructional videos for two weeks.
- PrepScholar—PrepScholar publishes a comprehensive online program. The guide starts with the basics and after explaining the test, the study guide explores each SAT section in depth and breaks down the score range and SAT percentiles. They offer templates on how to create a study plan for yourself. You can also get down to the nitty-gritty by studying common SAT vocabulary words, math formulas, and basic grammar rules.
- Magoosh—Some of Magoosh’s test prep materials come with a fee. However, the organization also offers several free online SAT prep resources, which you can find on its blog. Students can take the Magoosh free SAT practice test and find study tips and test-taking strategies through the company’s YouTube channel.
- The Critical Reader—Founded by a professional test tutor, The Critical Reader publishes an array of test prep books and free SAT prep resources online. Students can take online quizzes and read a full breakdown of SAT and ACT grammar rules.
- Erik the Red—Calling himself Erik the Red, this New Jersey-based math and physics tutor publishes several SAT and ACT prep resources on his website. If you need help with the Math section, you can find the math facts, formulas, and strategies you’ll need to pass the SAT. You can also practice with online math quizzes.
- Varsity Tutors—Varsity Tutors administers a free SAT prep class online. The class follows a distance-learning format, meaning students participate through Zoom. The prep course lasts two weeks, with students meeting three times per week, and covers content and strategies for each of the four SAT sections. Those who enroll in the class can access a mobile test prep app, SAT practice exams, and an adaptive assessment tool that provides personalized learning plans.
- Veritas Prep—Veritas Prep runs paid classes and private tutoring opportunities, students can also take advantage of several free resources, such as an SAT prep webinar, an online book, an online practice test, and several videos on Veritas’ YouTube channel. They also offer an ACT vs. SAT quiz, which can help you determine which test is a better fit for you.
- PrepFactory–PrepFactory focuses on two things: quality and convenience. They select the best instructors and are dedicated to ensuring the student has an easy and worthwhile experience using their site.
- Official ACT—Provides both free and inexpensive ways to prepare for the ACT including three retired exams, diagnostics, content review, practice questions and testtaking tips covering all four subjects: Math, Reading, Science and English. There is also a special page with tips for the optional essay section.
- Kranse.com—These courses are taught by a perfect score test taker, Shaan Patel via bite-sized videos that engage and inspire. There is a coupon for 50% off the course on their site.
- Prepped and Polished—In person or online tutoring and test prep to help with college admissions.
Paid admissions consultants
As you may guess, there are numerous consultants out there willing to take your money and help you get your student into college. If you are so inclined to pay someone, it’s hard to know where to start and how to find ones that are reputable. For this list of names, I’ve turned to several lists compiled with rankings and reviews:
- Top College Admissions Consultants—This is an independent ranking of college consultants with links and reviews.
- College Consensus—A list of the 30 best college admissions consultants with competitive pricing options and services.
- Best College Admissions Consultants—Check out their top college admissions consultants and view their rankings of the top 50 admissions consultants and check out their individual pages.
- Local admissions consultants—Want to hire someone local? Go to Thumbtack and type in “college application assistance” in the search bar. It will provide information based on your zip code.
Planning for college requires time to research and explore. Knowing where to look and what tools to use is half the battle.
- Cappex.com–A site created for students to help them simplify their college search, create a profile and search for scholarships.
- CommonApp.org–The common application site used by 400 colleges and universities across the country.
- CollegeBoard.com–It’s here you’ll find the CSS Profile application (required by many private colleges), register for the SAT, and read articles about planning for college.
- CollegeXpress.com–A search site that groups colleges in categories and provides college “hot” lists (i.e. top college for late bloomers, colleges for students needing a second chance)
- KnowHow2Go.com–A college planning site for college-bound students providing helps and aids from middle school to senior year: interactive and fun!
- BigFuture.collegeboard.org–A planning tool to help parents and students get ready for college.
- College Navigator—College planning website hosted by the U.S. Department of Education that assists “students, parents, high school counselors, and others get information about over 7000 colleges and universities.”
- College Majors 101—A website designed for only one purpose: “to teach students about different college majors in depth so that they can make more informed college and career choices.”
- Go College—Dedicated to assisting students with the college application process, financing college, and succeeding in college. The website is divided in four major categories: Financial Aid, Admissions, Education Options, and College Survival.
- Unigo—Unigo is a free, student focused college resource guide that covers more than 1,600 colleges and universities in the U.S. Rather than outsiders judging colleges based on numbers and other select qualitative factors, Unigo features college profiles based on student reviews.
- College Tidbits—Run by two parents, College Tidbits provides advice regarding “planning, preparing, and paying for college.”
- College View—An online resource and planning guide for students wanting to attend college. Users can view profiles of thousands of universities, search for colleges based on a plethora of factors including school size, campus setting, ethnicity, Greek life, religious affiliation, etc.
- US News: Education—From top national universities and liberal arts colleges to regional institutions and up-and-coming schools, US News rankings cover them all. This is a must-see resource for anyone contemplating schools that are not well known or trying to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of a particular school.
- Niche—Use this tool to find your best fit colleges by entering your preferences to receive a personalized list of colleges that are a great fit for you based on what you care about most.
- College Admissions Tracker—Find out who is getting in and how you compare by using this tracker
- Specific programs—Access lists of colleges in these specific categories: US Military Academies, Women’s College Coalition, Historically Black Colleges, Colleges That Change Lives
We all have questions about financial aid. It’s a complicated subject but one that every family needs to be aware of and how to navigate the process. These websites will help.
- StudentAid—The official website of the federal student aid program, and ultimately, where you’ll apply for financial aid via the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- CSS Profile https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/
- SallieMae.com/plan–A FREE education investment planner that will help determine college costs, compare college costs, and provides information about student loan repayments.
- SavingForCollege.com–Everything you need to know about financing a college education, especially 529 plans and other savings options.
- FinAid.org–An excellent resource for the answers to all your questions regarding college financial aid.
- CollegeFinancialAidAdvisors.com–Help with the college financial aid process.
- College Board Net Price Calculator—Get an estimate of your net price—the real price you willpay for any college.
- The Project on Student Debt—Prospective college students and their parents can use the resources on this site to understand the financial commitments of a college degree and to plan ahead.
- CollegeAve Student Loan Calculator—Get information on student loans and repayment amounts.
- Compare Private Student Loans—If you have to borrow, always borrow federal loans first. But this site will help you compare private student loan rates if your federal loans are not enough.
- College Board Calculators—Every calculator you will need from college costs, to savings, to loans
- Student loan calculators—Calculate the amount of interest you will pay on student loans and what your payments will be
Who doesn’t like free money? But you need to know where to find it and how to get it. You will find all that information on these sites.
- Fastweb.com–An extensive scholarship search website with a massive database of scholarships, along with articles and helps designed specifically for parents.
- Chegg.com–A free service for students and parents where students can showcase themselves, connect with colleges, and search for scholarships.
- Cappex.com–The place to go to find merit scholarships and academic scholarships from colleges across the country.
- Scholarships.com–An extensive scholarship search engine that helps you search and schedule alerts for deadlines.
- How2winscholarships.com–A guide for parents and students on how to effectively apply for and win scholarships.
- GoingMerry.com—Going Merry helps students find and apply for scholarships, and helps you track their progress, all for free.
- Niche—Their scholarship finder is unique in that it rewards you simply for opening an account. As soon as you complete the process, you’ll be entered to win a $2,000 scholarship that doesn’t require an essay.
- Petersons.com—A scholarship website that boasts a huge selection, housing over $10 billion in private financial aid. It also offers a scholarship of its own called the World’s Easiest Scholarship, which is worth $2,500.
- Unigo.com—In addition to a database of more than 3.6 million scholarships and grants, Unigo offers 14 of its own scholarships to help college students pay for school.
- Scholly.com—A scholarship app that has helped students win more than $100 million dollars using artificial intelligence to provide scholarship matches.
- ScholarshipExperts—Helping parents and students find scholarships and free college money since 2001 with an updated database of college scholarships and grad school scholarships to provide accurate and timely scholarship information.
If your student has the grades and the resume, there is money available in the form of merit aid. Here’s where to find it.
- Niche—Search for scholarships based on merit.
- Road2College—An extensive list of merit scholarships listed by college name
- PrepScholar—A list of 81 colleges with full-ride scholarships.
- MeritMore Get matched with the best merit scholarships
Recruiting and College Athletics
Do you have a student athlete? You will need help navigating the complicated process of college recruiting.
- NCSASports.org–The college recruiting site for athletes.
- BeRecruited.com–If you have a teen that’s a student athlete, they can create an online profile here and help colleges and coaches find them and be recruited.
- National Scouting Report—Help your student athlete get recruited to college.
- Sports Recruits—Build your free student athlete profile, fid schools that are a fits and connect with college coaches.
Your student will dread this part of the college application process and most likely need some help and encouragement. Here’s the best help available, especially #1.
- College Essay Guy– Free resources, one-on-one essay sessions, online webinars, and in-person workshops to help with the college essay.
- Essay Edge—Essay editing service for a fee (also some good samples available)
- Teen Ink-College Essays—Top Essays posted by students and a place for you to post and receive comments
- Accepted—Paid essay consulting and editing.
- College Basics-Essays—Multiple articles on writing an essay.
- Quint Careers—Sample essays from Ivy League colleges.
College visits are a crucial part of the college planning process. You don’t want to neglect those visits, but if you can’t do them in person, some of these sites should help.
- Youniversitytv.com–Learn about colleges by watching video tours, chat with students on campus forums, post questions and get answers.
- CustomCollegeVisits.com–Offer custom tailored to your family’s needs, whether you’re visiting college & university campuses close to home, across the country or from overseas.
- Campus Tours—Virtual college tours with maps and interviews.
- YouVisit—Find a specific college and tour it virtually.
- ECampus Tours—360 degree virtual campus tours with college information.
Every student applying to college needs some volunteering on their high school resume. The best opportunities are the ones that match your student’s interests.
- VolunteerMatch.org–Find local volunteer opportunities for your college-bound teen and teach them about the importance of giving back to their community with the added bonus of adding that service to their high school resume.
- Idealist—Idealist is an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, and locate opportunities.
- Back Door Jobs—Short term job and volunteer opportunities.
- Network for Good—Search for charities that need your help and volunteer.
- Volunteers for Peace—Volunteer opportunities abroad and across the U.S.
- Volunteers of America For 125 years, Volunteers of America has worked on the frontlines of service to help countless people in need.
Part of the college planning process is knowing what you want to study or what career you want to pursue.
- Career Test—Helps your student discover their career path and match it to a college.
- Free Aptitude and Career Assessment Tests—Tests to help your student find career based interests.
- Truity– A career profiler to help your student choose a future career.
- Teen Career Guidance—The MapInMe Journey has four phases that will empower your teen to understand how they’re wired for work, identify a few fits, set up a pathway to gain readiness and standout, and defeat perceptions that can keep them from moving forward.
Make the most of your drive time, waiting in line time, or waiting for your student time and listen to these podcasts for some valuable insight and college prep resources.
- The College Essay Guy Podcast—Practical, up-to-date interviews with experts in college admissions, financial aid, personal statements, test prep and more.
- Prepped and Polished Podcast—Here you’ll find tips and tricks for studying specific subjects and how to prepare for major tests like the SAT and ACT.
- The College Prep Podcast—Nationally recognized experts Megan Dorsey and Gretchen Wegner share tips and tricks about creative study strategies, SAT/ACT prep, college applications, essay writing, teen-friendly time management tools, and more.
- College Prep Genius—College Prep Genius will teach you all the tips and tricks to ace the SAT and get FREE money for college (no strings attached)!
- Inside the Admissions Office: Advice from Former Admissions Officers—Need help navigating the college admissions process? Every other Monday they bring you exclusive interviews with Former Admissions Officers, graduates from top universities, and admissions experts.
- Admissions Uncovered – College Applications and Admissions Explained—Two high school seniors and one Columbia freshman explore the black box that is the college application process while covering topics like handling deferrals, asking for letters of recommendations, the college essay and more.
- Getting In: A College Coach Conversation—Each week on VoiceAmerica College Coach hosts their internet radio program and podcast, Getting In: A College Coach Conversation.
- Demystifying College Admissions—This podcast is designed to inspire high school students to identify their passions, learn all about the most updated college admissions strategies, with guests and experts from all industries!
- College Admissions Podcast—On this podcast, Mark Hofer and Anna Ren, both independent college consultants, share real and relevant topics in college admissions to provide you with a fresh perspective and truly actionable takeaways that you can use as you prepare to apply for college.
- Your College-Bound Kid—Let a college admission expert (Mark) and a mom who’s been through the process (Anika) guide you through the college admission process.
You can have just about any question answered about college planning and paying for college in these groups. You will also find some great parenting tips as well.
- Parenting for College—This is my page and you can find the answer to any college-related question here.
- Grown and Flown—This is a widely popular group for parents of both college-bound and college students.
- Paying for College 101—If you have a question about paying for college, this group is available to help.
- College Talk—College talk provides parents with tips and strategies related to college financial aid.
- How to Find Merit Scholarships—This group is devoted to sharing merit scholarship opportunities and discussing ways to find schools generous with financial aid and merit scholarships.
- How to Win College Scholarships—Need help searching for scholarships? Need help with scholarship applications? Have a question about the scholarship process? You can find the answer on this page, along with endless lists of scholarships available.
- Parents of High School Students—This is the portal for you to ask any question about college prep or college, raise out any concern or get feedback from the group.
- College Essay Guy—Everything you need to know about the college essay, personal statements and supplemental essays can be found on this page.
- College Connections Educational Consulting Services—A group with over 14,000 members offering great college advice, current articles in the news, and a forum for students and parents to comment on them and ask questions.
- Jay DuSold (The Teen Career Guide)—Helping parents help their students find their own career path (even if it may not include college).
These blogs provide parenting advice, college planning advice, and other questions you might have related to the college prep process.
- ParentingforCollege.com–You will find the MOST information ere olege news. Come here first to find the latest and bhest tools to hn our blog: college guidance, college planning, college coaching, and help you navigate the college maze.
- TheCollegeSolutionBlog.com–An excellent resource for college-bound teens and their parents: admissions, testing, and financial aid.
- UniversityLanguage.com/blog–Great blog articles about everything related to study abroad geared toward students.
- GreatCollegeAdvice.com/blog–An excellent resource about the college admissions process providing expert advice helping students map their college journey.
- USNews.com/Education–The education channel of U.S. News and World Reports providing the latest news and information related to college.
- CollegeBasics.com–An excellent resource for information about college essays, college applications and high school resumes.
- CollegeAdmissionsPartners.com/blog–An expert blog dedicated to helping students find the right college.
- Road2College.com–You can find just about any topic related to college prep at this site: financial aid, college planning, student loans, test prep, and more.
- TeenLife.com/blog—You can find just about anything you need to know about college prep on this blog.
- CollegiateParent.com—Great resource for parents (both high school and college). Sign up for their newsletter and download their free guides. Check out all the articles I have written for them as well: https://www.collegiateparent.com/author/suzanne/
- CollegeXpress.com—Check out their informative articles, Q&A, and other resources for prospective college students and their parents.
Must-read books for parents
If you’re a reader, add these books to your list of must-reads before and during college.
- Higher Education: How Colleges are Wasting our Money and Failing our Kids–and what we can do about it!—This book presents some alternative colleges that many may not have heard about and proposes some controversial change in higher education.
- The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only—This book is the definitive companion for every parent of a student either heading to college or already in college. Harlan Cohen speaks clearly to parents in their language, making it not only an informative read but an easy-to-read resource for parents.
- College Bound and Gagged—Nancy Berk takes on the lighter side of college admissions from a parent’s perspective. In order to survive the process, you need to add a little bit of humor to the mix and Nancy does just that.
- Getting Wasted—This book shows that college itself encourages these drinking patterns and is one more example of the dark side of campus life. Parents and students should read this book.
- Debt-Free U—Armed with his personal knowledge, the latest data, and smart analysis, Zac Bissonnette takes on the sacred cows of the higher education establishment and challenges getting an education while going into debt.
- Secrets of a Financial Aid Pro—Learn how to find and apply for every type of financial aid, including FAFSA, grants, scholarships, and loans. Find out how to give your student the financial skills they’ll need for life–it all starts in college by helping them manage expenses and money.
- Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years—Now in its fourth edition, this guide is based on the real-world experiences of students and parents. It’s filled with practical, compassionate, and timely college tips for parents going through the college experience.
- Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years
- This book offers a whimsical, humorous, but also practical guide for parents with college-bound children, featuring real-life examples and dialogues.
- You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here if You Need Me)—Marjorie Savage has some of the best college tips for parents on how to respect a student’s boundaries while still providing emotional support.
- From Mom to Me Again—The author’s struggle with the empty nest and the transformation of her marriage, friendships, career, and ultimately herself, is part memoir and part self-help guide.
- How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success—In this book, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large.
- Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults—An essential guide for building strong relationships with your teens and preparing them to successfully launch into adulthood.
Parent advice and resources
If you’re looking for parenting advice related to college prep or other questions you might have along the journey, follow these websites.
- UniversityParent.com–A site where parents can ask questions, gather information, and download and view college guides and campus newsletters.
- CollegeParentCentral.com–A blog created to give parents useful information about college and the college admissions process.
- CollegiateParent.com-A site dedicated to providing parents with information for their college students.
- Help Me Harlen– Get daily advice from the author of several books about college and a mini-course for parents.
- GrownandFlown—Advice for parents of high school and college students on how to navigate every aspect of their lives.
- College Parents of America—A blog for college parents to share experiences, answer questions and connect
- College Tips for Parents—Good tips for parents of college students
- College Confidential—Free college admissions information and a discussion forum set up for parents.
If you have a student interested in study abroad, either during college, during a gap year, or during high school, here are some great resources.
- Americorps—An opportunity to travel, serve and get help with college costs and student loans
- Youth International—An experiential learning program that combines international travel, inter-cultural exchange, adventure, volunteer community service work, and homestays
- Global Navigator—Study abroad programs for high school students.
- Study Abroad with AFS—150+ high school study abroad programs are led by locals in the communities you’ll join. AFS staff, volunteers, and host families will welcome you to a second home.
- 12 Best Study Abroad Programs for High School Students—A compilation of 12 programs for your student to find study abroad programs.
Bookmark this page and use it as a resource during the college prep and college years. If you have any other suggestions (or are the owner of a resource not listed), please add a comment and I will be sure to add them. HAPPY COLLEGE PREP!
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