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FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid - This is the official FAFSA web site where a student can obtain a FAFSA PIN (Personal Identification Number) and find information, directions, and deadlines for federal student aid programs. A student can also file online and check the status of her/his FAFSA. There is also a link to an online calculator to assist students and families in financial planning for federal student aid.

FairTest –The National Center for Fair and Open Testing maintains a list of over 750 colleges and universities that deemphasize the use of standardized tests by making admissions decisions about substantial numbers of applicants who recently graduated from U.S. high schools without using the SAT or ACT. There are also links to articles and research critical of standardized testing.

Fastweb – This site is the largest source of free scholarship assistance, featuring over 1.3 million scholarships. It also has college searches. Fastweb has been featured in the NY Times, US News, USAToday, and Business Week.

Federal Student Aid/Student Aid on the Web – Has information from the U.S. Department of Education on preparing for college, choosing a college, applying for admission, and on applying for financial aid. Information on FAFSA and how to apply for FAFSA is prominently featured. Students can set up their My FSA accounts here.

FinAid: The Smart Student Guide to Financial Aid - A “how to” site for getting financial assistance, it provides links to many other sites and includes a free scholarship search. The site has won awards from the College Board, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and others.

Financial Aid Tips - Describes different types of financial aid, including tuition forgiveness programs and loans, and provides advice on how to fill out scholarship applications and write effective scholarship essays.

First Generation Student provides information and resources for people who are trying to be the first in their families to go to college. Our writers have contributed to sites such as US News & World Report and College Board. We also operate a blog ( featuring contributions from students and nationally recognized experts, such as Mark Kantrowitz of,, and the New York Times.

First in the Family – This site is from What Kids Can Do and includes stories from students who are the first in their family to attend college. The theme of this site is Believe in Your Right to College. Resources include: videos, facts, inspiration, tips, and planning checklists. Videos include: First in Family: How to Make It to College (stories of 6 students); Overcoming Obstacles: Immigrants’ Quest for Higher Education; and The Problem We All Live With (educational opportunities).

Free-4u- Free-4u is another scholarship search site, which primarily focuses on scholarships and grants for graduate school, but posts information on some high school scholarship opportunities and essay contests. There are links to minority-student scholarships.

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General Educational Development Testing Service (GED)– GED Tests measure high school-level skills and knowledge. They may be taken by students 18 years or older for the purpose of receiving the California High School Equivalency Certificate. Provides information about the General Educational Development Testing Service (GED) test, including how to take the test and how to use the results to apply for college.

GoCollege – Offers resources and links on financial aid, admissions, education options, and college survival. Among the many resources are: How High School Juniors Can Prepare for College; How High School Seniors Can Prepare for College; Tips for Taking the SAT/ACT; The College Admissions Process: Finding, Selecting, & Applying to Your Dream School; and 529 College Savings Plan. ABC’s 20/20 program featured GoCollege as a reliable website for information on finding financial aid.

Going2College - Has links to state-specific information about college planning, financial aid, and career exploration. Once a student selects “California” from the list of states, he/she is linked to state and local resources, including information about programs that help students from low-income backgrounds prepare and plan for college and careers.

General Educational Development Testing Service (GED)– GED Tests measure high school-level skills and knowledge and may be taken by students 18 years or older for the purpose of receiving the California High School Equivalency Certificate. These sites provide information about the General Educational Development Testing Service (GED) tests, including how to take the tests and how to use the results to apply for college.

GoCollege – Offers resources and links on financial aid, admissions, education options, and college survival. Among the many resources are: How High School Juniors Can Prepare for College; How High School Seniors Can Prepare for College; Tips for Taking the SAT/ACT; The College Admissions Process: Finding, Selecting, & Applying to Your Dream School; and 529 College Savings Plan. ABC’s 20/20 program featured GoCollege as a reliable website for information on finding financial aid.

Going2College - Has links to state-specific information about college planning, financial aid, and career exploration. Once a student selects “California” from the list of states, he/she is linked to state and local resources, including information about programs that help students from low-income backgrounds prepare and plan for college and careers.

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Hacia Adelante – Pathways to CollegeA Guide for Families - This guide is designed as a planning workbook, and includes steps for choosing high school courses, selecting a college or university, financial aid planning, and an action calendar. It can be ordered for $7.00 or downloaded for free.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund – At this site students and parents can download a free copy of Destination University: Destino Universitario, a 40-page, bilingual (English/Spanish) guide to applying to college and financial aid. Students can also download The Money Manual, a 64-page financial guide from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the National Endowment for Financial Education that focuses on managing money for a college education and beyond. Students can also search for and apply for scholarships here.

I Can Afford College – Has information on California Community Colleges and various kinds of financial aid. It is designed to help students with the application and financial aid process. Includes a Spanish version.

International Baccalaureate (IB) - International Baccalaureate offers high quality programs of international education to a worldwide community of schools. There are more than 600,000 IB students at 2,292 schools in 127 countries. This site has information on developing an IB program in schools, announcements of IB workshops and trainings, and related resources.

International Education Financial Aid (IEFA) - IEFA is the premier resource for financial aid, college scholarship and grant information for U.S. and international students wishing to study abroad.

Intersegmental Coordinating Committee – See California Education Round Table/Intersegmental Coordinating Committee.

It’s My Life: Postsecondary Education and Training – A free downloadable resource guide from the Casey Family Programs which targets educators and child welfare professionals who work with youth in foster care. The It’s My Life Guide includes recommendations, strategies, and resources to help prepare young people for college access and success. This is a valuable resource for those who work with youth of transition age. Also offers It’s My Life: Financial Aid, a 30-page excerpt from the Resource Guide.

Kaplan – Kaplan, Inc. is one of several test preparation organizations. It offers test preparation services for a fee, as well as related information and resources.

KnowHow2GO California – Part of the national Know How 2 GO initiative, a campaign that provides students with simple steps they can use to actively guide their preparation for college. The site includes materials for middle school and high school students as well as information on college awareness events in California communities. There are student sections on creating a high school planner, higher education options in California, how to apply to any California college, choosing the right college, how to pay for college, and choosing the best career for you. Students can also sign up to receive an email newsletter with tips about preparing for college.

Korean American Scholarship Foundation-Information for Korean American students needing financial aid for higher education.

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Mapping Your Future - Mapping Your Future is sponsored by student loan guaranty agencies from around the country, many of which are nonprofit or state agencies. Students can explore information about careers, how to prepare for college, select a school, apply for admission, pay for college, manage money. There are also resources for parents and counselors. A Spanish version of the site is available. This site has been selected as a Best of the Web site.
A free search site that offers information on thousands of colleges and universities nation-wide. Visitors can browse by degrees, careers, or locations. Includes admission information for each institution, types of degrees offered, enrollment size, area maps, and much more.

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund – Contains information about Assembly Bill (AB) 540 and the rights of immigrant students.

My College Options  - Materials for students, parents, high school counselors, and college admissions professionals, including: College Match, Research A Major, College Planning Tips, College Links, and College Essay Questions. Provides a college matching service at no cost to the participating school, school district, student or parents and guardians. All students complete the initial questionnaire in class and then receive a list of their matched choices.
Participating students are matched with more then 3,500 accredited post-secondary institutions, 2-year and 4-year, public and private. The matches are listed in order of compatibility. Initially, the results are distributed through the high school. Afterwards, the students may go to the My College Options website to modify their search or explore new directions. This site was recommended by the National Association of Admission Counselors.

My Road – A college and career-planning site offered by the College Board.
The site includes a personality assessment, a list of suggested careers and majors that relate to personality strengths, college searches, tips on applying to college and succeeding in college, & creating an online portfolio for college and careers. The site is free for PSAT/NMSQT Test takers. Students should ask their school counselor about how to access this service.

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National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) – NACAC supports and advances the work of counseling and enrollment professionals as they help all students realize their full educational potential, with particular emphasis on the transition to postsecondary education. Student Resources include Prep for College Calendars for freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years; a flyer: Which College Admission Process Best Suits You?; Definitions of Admissions Options in Higher Education; and a list of counseling and financial aid sources to assist students from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds,

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) –Another organization which governs college athletics. This is a useful site for athletes planning to attend an NAIA college. There is also a  downloadable Guide for the College Bound Athlete.

National Education Writers Association - Has links to major newspapers in California and beyond which have education writers and/or regularly feature articles on issues in education and is often a good source of materials for teachers to post in their classroom College and Career Corners.

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility – Provides information about eligibility for entering students at NCAA Division I and II colleges/universities. 

National College Access Network (NCAN) - The National College Access Network is dedicated to helping local communities all over the country initiate, develop and sustain their own college access programs. Among other resources the site contains links related to Financial Aid Resources and Scholarship as well as Best Practices in: College Admissions, Advising, Awareness, Experience, Financial Aid Advising, Awareness, Support, Assistance, Academic Preparation and Enrichment.

National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) – Includes a Find Your College function which allows high school student-athletes to search for junior colleges by region, name, and sport.

Occupational Information Network (O*NET) – This U.S. Department of Labor website offers career information and a database of worker attributes and job characteristics, with a Career Exploration Tools section.

Online University - Provides high quality resources across the spectrum of academic disciplines, enabling people to further educate themselves. Offers informal online education that illuminate a wide variety of topics.

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Pathways to College - This alliance of national organizations is dedicated to increasing college access to underserved students through providing educators with research on best practices. This Web site contains an extensive outreach database of all the large and small-scale programs that a school could use, as well as tips on how to start a College-Going Culture campaign. Also available is Shared Agenda, an excellent research-based mission that details actions for every partner in your process. In addition, the site has the very useful College Readiness for All, a toolbox for increasing postsecondary preparation and access for all students, including sections on Tools, Lessons Learned, and Resources & Links.

Peterson’s – Information on colleges and universities, study abroad and distance learning, and financial aid.  The college search function includes basic information, the student body, academics, campus life, and selectivity. Also tips on preparing for the SAT/ACT/PSAT Tests, including practice SAT/ACT/PSAT exams. Some services are for fee; however, there are many free resources. Peterson’s StudentEdge is recommended by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Princeton Review – One of several popular test preparation and college review services. Offers courses, books, software, and online services. Provides test preparation resources as well as information on and evaluations of colleges.  Most services and products are for a fee, but some are free.

Puente - The Puente Project is an academic preparation program whose mission is to increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn college degrees, and return to the community as mentors and leaders of future generations.

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Regional Occupational Centers and Programs – Provides a directory for all of California’s Regional Occupational Centers and Programs, with links to local program offerings.

RWM Vocational Schools Database - See California Vocational and Technical Schools.

Sallie Mae – The leading provider of student education loans. The site has information for students and parents on planning for college, saving for college, getting a loan, and managing your loans and life after graduation.

Sallie Mae Fund – The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae®, pursues its mission to increase access to higher education for America's students by supporting programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education, prepare families for their college investment, and bridge the gap.  It has information on applying for and searching for scholarships as well as free downloadable materials, including: Mission Possible! (a guide with useful tools, forms, checklists and financial aid information that students can use to prepare for college throughout high school); Educacion a tu Alcance (a comprehensive guide on financial aid for Spanish-speaking students/families); Latino College Dollars; Black College Dollars: Saving for College; andTop Ten Tips for College Admissions and Financial Aid. You can also order a tutorial-based CD - The Key: Interactive Guide to Planning and Paying for Black Colleges and Universities.

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SAT Essay Prep - This site was developed by an award-winning California high school English teacher and includes over 50 pages of free SAT Essay Prep materials. Sections include: Before the Test, How to Write an Excellent Essay, the Four Wells (well-structured, well-supported, well-reasoned, well- executed), SAT Tips, and Sample Essay Prompts.

Savings for College – Has a tutorial on the basics of college savings, a calculator to help students and parents determine their college savings goals, materials to help you compare savings options (including the 529 plans), and state-by-state links to a variety of college savings plans. There is also information on financial aid basics, scholarships, and student loans. There are some financial aid-related ads on this site, but most resources and materials are useful and free.  The site was recommended by a college counselor. – This scholarship search site is one of several recommended by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Offers a scholarship search, college search, and resources. Resources include scholarship application strategies and more.

Scholarship Experts – Helps parents and students find scholarships and free money for college. According to Forbes’ “Best of the Web” Review, this is "The best scholarship search engine we've found!"

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Student Guide - Available in English and Spanish, The Student Guide is a comprehensive resource on student financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education.

Student Success Guides – These guides are from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation and include a series of colorful brochures that help students prepare for college success. Among the guides/ brochures are: It’s All You, Baby (reasons why higher education is worthwhile for students and positively impacts lives); College Justificator (shows relationship between education and incomes); The Financial Aid Game: Real Money, Real Consequences (also in Spanish); Stafford Loans: Invest in Yourself (also in Spanish); PLUS Loans for Parents: Helping Parents Help With School Education; and Education Tax Benefits: Getting a Return on Your Investment. These are approved by the National Association of College Admission Counseling.

StudyAbroad  The name says it all.  This is a comprehensive directory of study abroad programs, including summer study abroad, internship, service learning and volunteer abroad programs, high school study abroad, intensive language programs and more, all organized by subject or country or city.

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TERI - The Education Resource Initiative: College Access Toolkit - Offers a report on how your school can set up a community college access center such as those already in place in Boston, MA; Louisville, Kentucky; Washington, D.C.; and St. Louis, Missouri. You can download TERI workbooks: Get Ready for College (grades 9 through 12) and Making College

Think College Early - The Think College Early website is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and provides students, parents, and educators with a range of information on college and financial aid. The site also features answers to frequently asked questions about paying for college as well as website links to resources and information about the college experience. The Think College Early publication can be downloaded free from the site.

Top 50 Colleges for Black Students (a la Black Enterprise) - Based on responses from African-American professionals in higher education, Black Enterprise magazine ranked the top 50 colleges and universities where African-American students are most likely to succeed. The ranking considers factors such as black population (at least 3%), academic strengths, social environment, and graduation rates. The top ten include: Morehouse, Hampton, Spelman, Howard, Xavier, Florida A&M, Stanford, Columbia, Georgetown, Clark-Atlanta. UCLA, USC, and Cal State LA also made the list.
There are web links to all 50 colleges.  (

Transcript Evaluation Service - A state-of-the-art technology tool provided through the University of California’s Office of the President that electronically examines an entire high school’s student transcripts for progress toward meeting the UC/CSU a-g course entrance requirements and integrates academic preparation with financial preparedness to improve academic achievement for California high schools and their students.

  1. TES's comprehensive reporting on school-wide college preparatory course progress helps school administrators fine-tune their course offerings and bolster their school’s college readiness.
  2. TES's expert transcript analysis helps students and their counselors choose the right classes at the right time to help them become college and career ready.

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U-CAN - University and College Accountability Network - From the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) this site includes profiles of over 600 colleges and universities. It provides links to the schools for further exploration. The site has its own Facebook page, as well as a YouTube channel.

UC College Prep Online - A statewide initiative of the University of California, UCCP develops and distributes high-quality courses and course content to benefit California students, with a special emphasis on helping underserved students prepare for college eligibility. Beginning in 2007, UCCP began to make some UC course content freely available to California students and teachers, while developing new online content and courses from the various UC campuses, programs and resources for use online and in schools. In addition, UCCP currently offers students, educators and schools digital lessons, open courses, and licensed courses.

UC Doorways – Provides information on the a-g course lists for accredited California High Schools, examples of previously approved a-g course descriptions, and information on how to develop new a-g course descriptions.

UC Pathways – Provides information on UC admission requirements, transfer requirements, and financial aid. Students can also access the UC online application here.

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United Negro College Fund - The mission of the United Negro College Fund is to provide financial support to its 39 member institutions and increase minority degree attainment by reducing financial barriers to college. UNCF administers more than 300 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship programs, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs.

Universal College Application - The Universal College Application is an online admissions application consortium for college-bound students. Students register, create an account, complete an application, and submit to any number of the 57+ member colleges.

University of California (UC) – Has information on and links to the 10 UC campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. There is also a link to UC Admissions, the UC application, and financial aid/scholarship information. UC uses a single application for all campuses and prefers that applicants use the online application for admission. Among the resources for students and parents are information on applying to UC, undergraduate admissions, applying for UC-financial aid, and campus tours in-person or virtual.

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United States Coast Guard Academy - Includes information on applying for the United States Coast Guard Academy, one of several United States Service Academies. As the smallest of the five U.S. service academies, the Coast Guard Academy offers higher education, professional development, and the tradition of a military academy but with a more personalized approach. The Coast Guard Academy emphasizes academics, physical fitness, character, leadership, and service and is located in New London, CT.
Other U.S. Service Academy links include:
United States Air Force Academy
United States Merchant Marine Academy
United States Military Academy at West Point
United States Naval Academy
Admissions to U.S. Service Academies is highly selective, as students must be nominated by their Congressional Representative to apply.

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US College Search – One of several college and university search sites. Includes both online and on-campus colleges and trade schools as well as links to other college search websites. You can search by state, by zip code, or major.

US News – (Education Section) This US News site provides information on searching for colleges, college majors, and college planning tools. Also offers quick scholarship searches based on ethnicity, athletics, art, military and others categories.

US News and World Report - Students and parents can access the latest US News college rankings as well as helpful information on getting into the  school of their choice.

Western Association for College Admissions Counseling (WACAC) – WACAC is an organizations of high school and college counselors dedicated to serving students as they make choices about postsecondary education. One feature is a Toolkit which includes a Junior Calendar, Senior Calendar, Personal Checklist for Graduation and College, The Application Process, Selecting the College That is Right For You, and other resources. There is also, on an annual academic year basis, a free download of materials for a counselor’s binder.

Workability 1: A California Transition Program – Has information to support special needs students who are making the transition from high school to work, postsecondary education, or training.

XAP -- Students can apply online or download applications for 800+
colleges. There are free resources on preparing for college, planning a career, searching colleges, and finding financial aid. In addition, there is a counseling center with services for counselors.


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Last modified on 6/18/2013

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