Funded By: Hobsons, Inc.
Audience: Student, parents
Focus: College prep, school search, financial aid, campus life
Big Picture: College Confidential lives up to the idea that it’s giving you the inside scoop on college—it’s a vast resource of articles, books, and personal accounts of college life and the road to getting there. The site is fairly straightforward, but packed with such useful tools as Supermatch (a robust college search engine) and Ask the Dean (a Q&A with lots of pointed info about admissions and more). Numerous articles on all aspects of collegiate life can be found in nearly every section, most written by syndicated columnist and college advisor Dave Berry. Registered users can save college searches, participate in forum discussions, and post reports on personal visits to college campuses.
Big Challenge Solved: College Confidential often feels like a conversation, particularly in the tone of its articles and the opportunities it gives students for contributing their own thoughts and feedback—it’s just that touch which will help the important info sink in.
Must Use: With a name like Supermatch, the site’s college search tool is hard to ignore—and it lives up to the promise, with 23 customizable criteria that can be used to fine-tune results.
Most Unique Tool: Check out Campus Vibe and pull up individual “reports” about specific colleges—they’re written by students who’ve visited the campuses, and other users can post their own thoughts and reviews. It’s like Yelp for colleges.
Best Middle-School Student Tool: Middle-schoolers are best served by getting on the forums and searching threads or posting queries about their specific issues for useful discussions around prep for high school and college.
Best High-School Student Tool: We’re not sure if a real dean answers the questions, but the Q&A featured in the Ask the Dean section addresses obvious and not-so obvious issues around such things as admissions, SAT scores, and non-citizen students.
Protip: There's no better way to get a question answered than by asking, obviously—but College Confidential's awesome forums let you crowdsource any and all inquiries to get you some extra perspective on anything you're unsure of. Who knows, you might even be able to offer some of your own advice.