This is a post in our 2009 Back to School series. You can see all of the posts here.

So you get two weeks into your college career and you have a certain discomfort with your current university. By the end of the semester, you plan on hightailing out of there. While searching for a school online cannot replace actually going there to experience it, some can help a little bit.

CampusCompare is a service that allows users to search and catalog schools. The list is at 3,000 institutions and 4,000 more coming. If they don’t have the school you’re looking for, it’s probably coming. Students can log-in via FacebookConnect, so that’ll speed up that all to familiar website registration process. For the record, CampusCompare isn’t just college students who are transferring but any person looking to attend a new college or university.

The search has six subject categories. They are, state, major, career, sports, ivy league and a simple A to Z. The state search was separated into regions where you can click one or more states. If you want to search for majors, it’s going to get specific. Besides having a plethora of disciplines it also has more sub-disciplines than you’ll need.

Other than search, CampusCompare has some services that aim to take the guess work out of college search. Their top three services are a financial aid calculator, a “what are my chances” calculator, and as per the name of the site, a college comparison feature.

The financial aid calculator shows you how much it’ll really cost to attend school. This is cool because they actually averaged what the grocery, parking and other real life costs are. This should probably be called college budget calculator or something other than Financial Aid Calculator.

When I started to search for college, like many other high school juniors/senior, I thought: “What are the odds I can get into this school”. Well, providing you know your vitals (SAT, ACT, GPA, class rank, etc.) you’ll be able to figure out if it is actually possible for you to get into your dream school.

After you’ve compiled the schools that you can get into and are financially tangible, you can compare them to see which one you like better. As I’ve said before, nothing can really replace actually going and spending a day at a university.

One thing I would like to see CampusCompare do in the future is a Grad school version of their site. More and more students are finding they need to get a masters degree to get the job/salary they want. With that being said CampusCompare has done a great job of using Web 2.0 to provide a well designed college search service.

Did you use a service like CampusCompare before picking your school? Comment below to share!

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