College Planning

Below you will find a variety of college resources to aid you as you make this very important decision.


All 9 – 12th grade students have access to a great website for college and career planning. SCOIR is a tool that allows students to explore a variety of colleges and universities, explore career fields, and take career interest inventories. They can house materials for college admissions essays, portfolios, and even resumes on this application. There is a phone application as well, in case they feel more interested in completing activities on their cell phone. Finally, we have a variety of colleges and universities that have signed up for virtual (Zoom) information sessions; a lot of these schools don’t normally visit Idaho and/or North Star, so I strongly encourage you to check out any virtual sessions that catch your eye! Parents can also create a SCOIR account and connect to their students, which allows them to see which colleges a student is interested in, and even suggest colleges that they think are a good fit for their students. Make sure you check out SCOIR today!

College of Distinction

Many  publication offer rankings for colleges, identifying so-called “top” schools.  Often these rankings do not take into account what really matters about a college:  the success of its graduates, the quality of it teaching, the atmosphere of its campus, and so forth.

The goal of Colleges of Distinction is to provide information about schools that excel in these key areas.  It describes schools that that take a holistic approach to admissions decisions, that consistently excel in providing undergraduate education, and that have a truly national reputation.  It also give an unbiased look at the admissions process as well as looks at the myths surrounding college admissions, provide tools for self-assessment, and provide insights from college admissions professionals, high school counselors, students, and parents.


Young people in all socioeconomic groups have college aspirations. In fact, eight out of 10 expect to attain a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the U.S. Department of Education. But despite their aspirations, low-income students and those who are the first in their families to pursue higher education are severely underrepresented on college campuses. Studies show these students often lack the guidance they need to prepare for postsecondary education.

In order to turn these students’ college dreams into action-oriented goals, the American Council on Education, Lumina Foundation and the Ad Council created the KnowHow2GO campaign. This multi-year, multi-media effort includes television, radio and outdoor public service advertisements (PSAs) that encourage young people, primarily those in 8th through 10th grade, to prepare for college using four simple steps.


This is a site designed by a student guidance counselor and English teacher with over 20 years of working to help students get into college. CollegeMapper  gives you a timeline, designed specifically for you, in addition to a full suite of tools to help you create everything you’ll need for your college apps.

Federal Student Aid

Federal Student Aid is responsible for managing the student financial assistance programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. These programs provide grants, loans, and work-study funds to students attending college or career school.

They ensure students and their families can benefit from these programs by

  • informing students and families about the availability of thefederal student aid programs and the process for applying for and receiving aid from those programs;
  • accurately disbursing, reconciling, and accounting for all federal student aid funds that are delivered to students each year through more than 6,200 colleges and career schools;
  • managing the outstandingfederal student loan portfolio and securing repayment from federal student loan borrowers;
  • offering free assistance to students, parents, and borrowers throughout the entire financial aid process; and
  • providing oversight and monitoring of all program participants—schools, financial entities, and students— to ensure compliance with the laws, regulations, and policies governing the federal student aid programs.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education. Within their site they have a College Navigator Tool that can aid in selecting the right college for you. Additionally, there is information on College Preparation and Financial Aid.

Unigo is an online business matching students with colleges, scholarships, internships, student loans, majors and careers.

According to USA Today, “millions of students use Unigo to assist in their college search.”

Education publisher McGraw-Hill wrote “Unigo is the largest and most authoritative library of college reviews on the internet.” 

Unigo’s consumer website,, includes 650,000 college reviews, 3.6 million scholarships, 90,000 internships and 3.3 million study materials, as well as a marketplace of 20,000 academic tutors, professional college counselors and online courses