Researching the right college was an epic task for past generations. In the 1960’s,‘70’s.and 80’s the magnitude of reviewing brochures and reading the College Search Guide Books was daunting, but it was the main method for college discovery. Some students were fortunate to visit campuses and many based their decision on where family or friends had attended.

In years past I’ve suggested that students organize their search by saving information on a calendar, a chart or an Excel spreadsheet, but for the iY generation there are savvier tools available such as Big Future’s “Compare Colleges” web application.

Using CollegeBoard's College Search will provide a clearer vision and selection strategy. You’ll be able to survey your ideas, goals, preferences and personal interests pertaining to type of school, location, campus and housing, sports and activities. Then you can find multiple college that fit your style and aspirations.

Once the basics of the colleges are compared, you will need to know if you are on-track to get in. Again, organization is the key element, and the Big Future website has designed the Academic Tracker to help you with this. Use the ‘Am I On Track” and “How Do I Stack Up” tabs to compare and personalize your academic stats and compare to other students who have been accepted to your colleges of interest.

Juniors and seniors also have many dates to remember. Deadlines for:

  • Early admissions
  • Regular admission
  • Applications
  • Scholarships
  • Honor programs
  • PSAT
  • ACT exams
  • SAT exams
  • Recommendation letters
  • FAFSA forms
  • Submitting final exam scores
  • Acceptance letters
  • Sending final transcripts
Most of these deadlines will fall between September and June, so be sure to map them out for the colleges and universities you are interested in.

The billboards were once rocked with the song, "In the Year 2525."  It told us that we would be doomed with technologies, but I am so thankful we were blessed with the Big Future site from CollegeBoard. The tool makes it crystal clear—being organized and meeting deadlines is a must for college application success.