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8 Amazing College Planning Tools IECs Should Check Out

Embarking on the journey to higher education is a pivotal moment in a high schooler's life, filled with excitement and possibilities. In today's dynamic landscape, where college admissions have become increasingly competitive, the need for strategic planning by both IECs and high school students has never been more crucial. Fortunately, the digital age has created many college planning tools to empower students to pursue higher education. According to a National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) survey, 83% of high schoolers who use college planning tools feel more confident about the college application process, and by extension, enabling you to provide better recommendations to your students as an IEC. This statistic underscores the transformative impact these tools can have on a student's academic journey, supported by you. 

As we delve into the landscape of college planning, let's explore ten indispensable tools that streamline the path to college admissions success.

Admit Yogi stands out by allowing users to delve into the successful college applications of past applicants. The tool uses an AI-powered recommendation algorithm to match users with a student at their dream school who shares similar demographics, stats, and majors. This unique feature provides valuable insights into essays and activities that led to admission, serving as a source of inspiration for overcoming writer's block and building a compelling admission profile.

AdmitYogi profiles offer a snapshot of successful applications, showcasing the strategies and elements that contributed to their success. Users can explore these profiles to gain nuanced insights into the admissions process, helping refine their approach.

Admit Yogi offers a user-friendly pricing model. Users can try the tool for free with access to one student profile. Affordable plans starting at $10 per profile are available for a more in-depth exploration of five profiles or more. This makes Admit Yogi an accessible and cost-effective resource for high schoolers navigating the complexities of college planning. The tool's innovative use of AI-driven recommendations makes it a standout choice for those seeking inspiration and guidance on their college journey.

Read more about Admit Yogi in our blog post "10 Best AI Tools for College Admissions."

Big Future by College Board is a versatile and comprehensive college planning tool that supports students throughout their academic journey. Specifically designed for current and prospective students, the website offers many resources to streamline the college application process. What sets BigFuture apart is its commitment to being entirely free, making high-quality college planning accessible to all. You can access our review of the tool here!

Beyond aiding with applications, BigFuture supports financial planning for college. The website provides a rich array of resources for paying for college, including a robust scholarship search feature, a cost calculator to estimate expenses and detailed information on various financial aid options. This holistic approach ensures that students not only gain admission to their desired colleges but also navigate the financial aspects of higher education without any cost barriers.

BigFuture goes beyond college planning by offering resources to explore careers. Students can use a career quiz to help identify suitable paths and compare various majors to align their academic pursuits with their career aspirations. With its user-friendly interface, a wide range of features, and a commitment to being free. BigFuture stands as a valuable and inclusive hub for students embarking on the exciting college planning journey.

Fastweb is a leading scholarship search platform, connecting students with a vast database of scholarship opportunities. Students can access a tailored list of scholarships matching their qualifications and aspirations by creating a profile.

Fastweb distinguishes itself through its personalized approach to scholarship discovery. Students unlock a tailored scholarship list that aligns with their unique qualifications, interests, and aspirations by creating a profile. This targeted search functionality streamlines the scholarship application process, ensuring students can focus on opportunities most relevant to their academic and personal goals. It's free for students to sign up and build a profile!

Fastweb goes beyond providing information by offering a streamlined application process for many of the scholarships listed on the platform. This feature simplifies the application journey, making it more accessible for students to pursue multiple scholarship opportunities efficiently.

Chegg Test Prep provides an extensive collection of practice tests, allowing students to familiarize themselves with standardized tests' format, question types, and time constraints. These practice tests serve as invaluable tools for honing test-taking skills, identifying areas for improvement, and building confidence ahead of the actual exams.

The platform goes beyond mere practice materials by offering expert tips and strategies curated to optimize performance. Students gain free access to insights from seasoned test-taking professionals, providing them with a strategic advantage in navigating challenging sections and maximizing their scores. You can also access many resources and materials highlighting college applications via their blog!

Niche emerges as a versatile and illuminating platform, providing students with invaluable insights into the colleges they are considering.

Niche provides a wealth of data, including acceptance rates and detailed profiles of institutions. This information proves crucial for students seeking a comprehensive understanding of their prospective colleges. By delving into acceptance rates, students can gauge the competitiveness of admission, while detailed profiles offer a holistic view of each institution's academic, social, and cultural aspects. You are also eligible to create your free Niche profile to help save schools and build your resume!

One of Niche's standout features is its repository of reviews from current students and alums. These firsthand accounts offer authentic perspectives on campus life, academic experiences, and extracurricular offerings. By tapping into the voices of those who have experienced the college firsthand, prospective students gain valuable insights beyond statistics and data.

Scholly is a dedicated scholarship search platform that streamlines the finding of relevant scholarships. By matching students with opportunities that align with their profiles, Scholly helps maximize scholarship potential.

The platform generates personalized suggestions for scholarships after analyzing student profiles and matching them with relevant opportunities. By considering various factors such as gender, state, GPA, race, and more, the system filters and presents a tailored list of suitable scholarships, complete with links and deadlines.

Based on the website, Scholly has produced over 35 million dollars in scholarships since 2015. The program is developed to allow you to create a profile, search for scholarships, and then narrow down to apply to a few each month. For students, this is a great college planning tool for financial planning. 

College Raptor employs data science to enhance student recruitment efficiency and utilizes intelligent tools to optimize financial aid. The platform also incorporates search tools to provide net price calculators. Like other pre-college planning tools, College Raptor offers a route to begin planning for the future. 

These free services encompass financial aid leveraging, predictive modeling, customized net price calculators, student lead generation, early aid estimates, competitive pricing analytics, and more.

The organization also has a mobile-first net price calculator that is fully customizable and includes the Categorization of Matches.

College matches will be grouped into one of five match categories: "Safety," "Near Safety," "Match," "Reach," or "Huge Reach." These classifications depend on your estimated likelihood of admission to a specific college.

Khan Academy, widely recognized for its personalized learning approach, goes beyond traditional academic support to specialize in college admissions and future planning. At this link, you'll discover an extensive series of informational lessons tailored to assist students in navigating crucial aspects of their educational journey.

These lessons cover various topics, including in-depth insights into application processes, strategic financial planning for college, and comprehensive post-graduate planning. Khan Academy's commitment to empowering students extends to providing valuable resources that address not only academic challenges but also guide them through the intricacies of college admissions and help shape their future pathways. Whether it's understanding the intricacies of application procedures or making informed decisions about financial aspects, these lessons are invaluable for students as they prepare for higher education and beyond.

Khan Academy’s lessons are always free and available to students online.

In the digital era, arming high schoolers with these powerful college planning tools is akin to providing them with a roadmap to success. These tools simplify the complex process of college admissions and empower students to make well-informed decisions that align with their aspirations. As high schoolers navigate higher education, these tools are invaluable companions, offering guidance, insights, and opportunities to turn their college dreams into a tangible reality.

If you’d like to recommend a rigorous research program open to high schoolers, you may want to consider the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here. You can also reach out to us at to know more, or to have a chat about possible collaborations!

Also check out the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation, a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Last year, we had 150 students on full need-based financial aid!

Tenzing Dolma is a Masters student specializing in research following the Nechung Oracle and the historical, religious, and cognitive approaches to its presence. She has a bachelors in Neuroscience from Loyola University Chicago and is currently completing her graduate studies at Columbia University. She hopes to help students find their passions through access to programs and organizations the same way she found hers!



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