• Anna Ren

6 Free Insider Resources to Applying for College

With schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford hitting record-low acceptance rates this year, it’s easy for rising seniors to get a little stressed over applying to college. And with reports that hiring a college admissions consultant costs $20,000 to $400,000 (the average is really $4,000 to $6,000 depending on where you live), it’s easy to think that a family needs to spend a lot of money in order to get help with applying for college.


As a first-generation college student born to immigrant parents who only went to elementary and middle school, I am a big fan of free resources. But with thousands of resources online, spending time looking for all of them can take forever, which is why we want to share some great free resources that can help you with different parts of the college admissions process.

  1. Figuring Out Your Major — Don’t know what you want to study? Don’t worry! Cappexoffers a great quiz you can take that will help you identify what you may want to major in and pursue as a career.

  2. Building the College List — Ever hear counselors or consultants talk about creating that balanced list of “best fit” schools? What does that even mean? Well, it means finding a list of schools that not only help you grow academically, but personally as well — a place where you’ll be able to thrive. A great resource to get you started on putting your list together is Collegeboard’s Big Future College Search tool.

  3. Getting to Know Your Schools — Just like anyone you’re going to meet, if you plan on spending four years of life there, you’ll want to make sure you get a feel for the culture. While visiting schools in person are great, it might not always be possible. Utilize Unigo.com to learn more about the school right from the student’s that go there.

  4. Understanding What a Good Essay Is — You’ve heard that you’ve got to stand out through your essay, but how are you supposed to do that? What does that mean? Well, I honestly believe it’s easiest to learn by example. Before you start brainstorming, visit John Hopkins’ University’s Essays That Worked and Connecticut College’s Essays That Worked to see some real examples from accepted students and why they worked.

  5. Managing the College Application Process — Worried about how you’re going to stay on top of everything you have to do for your college applications? Take advantage of Apply101 and Collegeboard’s Big Future College Application Checklist to keep track of each task you need to take care of for your college application.

  6. Searching for Scholarships- With cost of attendance for colleges and universities around $25,000 to over $65,000 a year, finding money for college is more important than ever. Take advantage of Fastweb’s Scholarship Search and find money for school and make affording college a reality.

Getting help with applying for college doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Don’t let the college application process stress you out. Utilize these free resources to make the most out of college admissions.


Get my “Crafting Memorable College Application Essays Workbook” for FREE


Stay up to date on college admissions trends and get real tips on the Coast2Coast College Admissions Podcast. Check it out on iTunes here or check out the website to submit your own questions.

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