This is the time of year to help high school juniors begin to develop their college lists. Research shows that many students, especially those who will be the first generation in their family to go to college, develop lists based on what they have heard from friends, where their teachers or counselors have attended, or where they have visited.

While many counselors and their students with access to Naviance can use the program’s college-matching resources, there are many of us who need free or cheap resources to help high school juniors with their college research.

Let’s start with online resources…

I’m First
Under-represented students can join I’m First. They register and get access to colleges that are actively recruiting them and even offering them scholarships. The site also provides general encouragement for students to apply to college. First Lady Michelle Obama has provided one of the site’s newest videos on getting a college education.

College Navigator
The federal government supports the College Navigator, which is a basic and solid search platform.

Big Future
The College Board has its free and easy to use Big Future resource. Students search for colleges based on all kinds of factors, from size to majors to cost.

College Count Down
The Fiske Guide now offers College Count Down. This interactive and amazing website has resources for students, parents, and educators.

Virtual Campus Visits
Students can visit campuses without leaving their homes thanks to a number of websites, including YouniversityTV, eCampusTours  and

Cappex enables students to create free individual student profiles, read student reviews of colleges, and find scholarships.

Unigo offers all kinds of college readiness tips, including loads of advice from current college students.

CollegeWeekLive has virtual college fairs all year long, as well as extensive webinars.

College Greenlight
College Greenlight is Cappex’s non-profit designed to help underrepresented students. It offers resources for both students and counselors. Counselors can track students and match them with scholarships and different resources. Students can also have their own accounts.

Here are some additional hard copy resources…

Maps of Colleges
Wintergreen has some reasonably priced maps and other resources to find colleges around the country. College Maps also offers reasonably price wall maps. Get a map of colleges for your wall.

College Map

Favorite Books
We all have our favorite books. Mine include the 2014 Fiske Guide, the 2014 College Board Book of Majors, Peterson’s Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD , and Steven Antonoff’s College Finder. I also love the I’m First to College Guide, as it comes with free lesson plans and other amazing resources.

Cal State Resources
The Cal States have a variety of free resources, from videos to free posters, in several languages for teachers and counselors at

Have any other suggestions? Please share your ideas with the group by commenting below!

By Rebecca Joseph