Created By: The College Board
Audience: Students (with some resources for educators and parents)
Focus: General college-and-career readiness
Big Picture: This savvy, student-focused website has a wide variety of content (articles, videos, interactive guides) in the areas of searching for, getting into, and paying for college. A career search lets students explore specific and general job categories, enabling them to hone in on a degree type and its requirements. Signing up for a College Board account gives users access to an interactive plan-for-college tool, as well as such features as online SAT registration and college applications. The educator resource center provides links to relevant (and free) webinars, presentations, and college-prep lesson plans. And the site has additional resources specific to parents, veterans, and undocumented students.
Big Challenge Solved: Wading through college-prep material can be arduous, but BigFuture keeps things visually clean, well-organized, and ultimately engaging by putting a face on the data—literally, with lots of images of real students.
Must-Use: An interactive college search that breaks down all major considerations (such as location, housing and payment options, and athletics opportunities) into fine detail for highly-focused results.
Most Unique Tool: The site smartly provides its own EFC calculator—a tool colleges use to determine how much a family should contribute to their child’s aid package—giving students and parents a crucial dose of financial-planning wisdom.
Best Middle-School Student Tool: Registered users will find the My Plan interactive college-prep guide a simple but powerful way to get a customized roadmap to college—for middle school students on up.
Best High-School Student Tool: The Campus Life section is a must-use for high-schoolers, as the written and visual firsthand accounts from college students help qualify an experience that can’t be summed up by facts and figures.
Protip: You’ll find the Educator Resource Center under the Get Started drop-down—it’s a great collection of counseling material and more, including BigFuture-branded content to enhance your own professional website.