Navigating the College Search Maze: Strategies for Maximizing Online Resources

February 9, 2024

If you’re getting started with your family’s college search or thinking about how to make the most of visiting a college campus, then you need to strategies for making the most of online resources. The internet offers countless resources – some good, some bad – on almost all complex decisions. And choosing the right college is no exception. There are a plethora of resources at our fingertips.

Here are some insightful tips to help both parents and teens make the most of their time online:

  1. Understanding the College’s Roots:

Before diving into the intricacies of a college’s offerings, take a moment to visit the “About” page on the college’s website. Understanding the institution’s history and core values can provide invaluable insights into its culture. Recognizing how the past shapes the present can highlight the campus environment and help to determine whether it aligns with your teen’s aspirations and values.

  1. Join Virtual Tours and Information Sessions:

Most colleges now offer a wealth of virtual opportunities through their .EDU websites. Join virtual tours and information sessions; they offer a curated glimpse into campus life and academic offerings. Registering for these sessions not only demonstrates interest to the admissions office but also opens doors to receiving more personalized information about the college.

  1. Explore Student Affairs Pages:

Delve into the Student Affairs pages, which often showcase the breadth of student activities, organizations, and clubs. Reach out to the listed contacts with specific questions your teen may have. Connecting with students or faculty can provide firsthand insights into the extracurricular landscape and community dynamics. It can also help your teen recognize the benefits of exploring their interests.

  1. Delve into Admissions Information:

Navigate through admissions statistics, event schedules, and the application process provided on the admissions section of college’s website. While exploring, pay particular attention to graduation rates, as they offer a compelling metric for comparing colleges. Understanding a college’s track record in guiding students to graduation provides clear insight into assessing its commitment to academic support and student satisfaction.

  1. Seek Unfiltered Perspectives:

Immerse yourself in student blogs and videos to gain authentic glimpses into campus life. Engage with student profiles, blogs, or YouTube channels to uncover unvarnished perspectives on the college experience. These firsthand accounts offer invaluable insights into the day-to-day realities of attending a particular institution, beyond the glossy brochures and official narratives.


While the internet offers a nearly-limitless array of resources, these steps provide a solid foundation for getting started and conducting meaningful research without getting lost in the maze of misinformation. By leveraging online tools effectively, you can conduct a well-informed college search. This will also help you use online resources to identify which colleges you want to commit your time, energy and money to visit in person.

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