When starting the college search process, be sure to discuss your plans and information needs with your counselor and parents. Explore and utilize the tools embedded in the Naviance system, which are available to all Boulder High students. In addition to online tools, there are excellent guidebooks and college directories, many available to you in the Counseling Office.
2023-2024 BVSD Out-of-state College FaiR
Out-of-State College Fair, Monarch High School, Wednesday, October 4, 5:30-7:00 pm.
- This in-person event will be held at Monarch High School.
Meet with College Reps
Each year, Boulder High hosts more than 200 college admissions representatives to provide an opportunity for juniors and seniors to learn more about prospective colleges. See the College Rep Visits Calendar below for the schedule. You can also use the Calendar Search function below, or search in Naviance, to see when a specific college you are interested in is visiting.
College Search Tools
- College Rep Visits Info
- Starting the Search
- Finding a College
- Naviance for College Research
- Choosing a College
- Glossary of College Application & Admission Terms
- Interested in Community College?
- Paying for College
College Rep Visits Info
Each year, Boulder High hosts more than 200 college admissions representatives in the Counseling Office to provide an opportunity for juniors and seniors to learn more about prospective colleges. Visits usually take about 30 minutes, during which students can learn about academic, scholarship, and campus living offerings. Visits can help students either include or eliminate a college from their prospective college lists.
The visits are posted on the College tab in Naviance, the calendar below, and on the message screen outside the Counseling Office. If you have added a certain college to your "Colleges I'm Thinking About" in Naviance, you will receive an e-mail reminder of the day and time, 24 hours in advance. You can also use the Calendar Search function at the bottom on this page, or search in Naviance, to see when a specific college you are interested in is visiting.
Starting the Search
Not sure where to begin your college research? There are tons of online resources to help students match up with the right schools. The more you are able to know yourself—your strengths, your weaknesses, your interests, your hobbies and your goals—the better off you will be in finding a good fit for college.
As you start your research, here are some things to keep in mind:
Nearly all websites include tabs for “additional resources” or “links” to related web resources.
Remember that all websites express a point of view, service, or product orientation, and they may rely upon financial support from sponsors.
Some additional websites are listed for special interests and situations such as those considering a “gap year,” international students, and those who plan to attend a community college.
You may find a lot of information regarding test preparation services and loans.
As you begin your search, remember that it's not about what's the best college; it's about what's the best college for YOU!
Finding a College
Finding college information is easy thanks to the many college-search engine tools. Use these tools to find a wide range of information such as: admission requirements and statistics, graduation rates, course offerings, application forms and filing dates. You can even tour the campus and find student ratings and opinions about colleges and universities you may be considering.
College Data www.collegedata.com
Search more than 2,000 colleges to find the schools that match your preferences and get all the details on admission, financial aid, academics, and campus life in our college profiles.
College Insight www.college-insight.org
Provides easy-to-use college profiles and powerful research tools that include information about affordability, student debt, and diversity.
Kiplinger’s Best College Values www.kiplinger.com
Focus is on value and ranks U.S. colleges and universities in three separate lists: public universities, private universities, and liberal arts colleges. Users can query, view, and sort the schools on each list by various financial and quality measures.
U-CAN Network www.ucan-network.org
The University and College Accountability Network provides charts and concise information in a common format on more than 700 private institutions including admissions and enrollment stats, demographics, graduation rates, popular majors, faculty information, class size, tuition and fee trends, costs, financial aid, campus housing, student life, and campus safety.
Offers “insider” reviews, videos and photos by actual students attending the college as well as institution-specific stats and rankings as well as forums that focus on specific topics and colleges. Unigo’s partnership with The Wall Street Journal provides additional content focused on getting accepted, choosing schools and paying for college.
U.S. News and World Report www.usnews.com/best-colleges
Beyond its rankings, this site offers a plethora of college data and guidance. In addition to ranking national universities and liberal arts colleges, you’ll find an assortment of interesting lists including: A+ Options for B Students, Learning Communities, Up-and-Coming Colleges, Internships-Co-ops, Study Abroad, Best Undergrad Teaching and Writing Programs.
College Resources for LGBTQ Students www.thebestcolleges.org
The team at TheBestColleges.org is committed to raising awareness for all the ways in which LGBTQ students can fully take advantage of these resources.
Naviance for College Research
To use Naviance for college research, students should log in to Naviance using your Single-Sign-On Portal at my.bvsd.org and follow the instructions below:
Click on the colleges tab and view the choices under college research.
Use SuperMatch college search to find colleges by specific criteria, such as Location, Majors, Scores, Tuition, etc. Explore the site by entering your specific filters.
Use college match to view colleges looking for students who have similar GPAs and test scores as you. Scroll down to view a list of colleges that have accepted students like you.
Use college compare to compare your GPA and standardized test scores to averages of Boulder High students accepted by certain colleges. If you only have a PSAT score, this is converted into an equivalent SAT score for comparison purposes.
Use college resources to view directories for more information about College Search, Test Prep, Financial Aid, College Athletics, and the Military.
Use college maps to view maps of colleges that have accepted our students, colleges where our students are attending, and the top 20 most popular colleges where our students have applied.
Use scattergrams to view a graph of how you compare to our students who have applied to a particular college over the last two years. The graph plots acceptance results by decision plan.
Use acceptance history to view statistics regarding Boulder High students who have applied, were admitted, and enrolled to a particular college.
Choosing a College
When choosing colleges to apply to, consider all the factors of the college in your decision—including how it “feels.” Don’t rule out any colleges or factors until you’ve really explored them as an option; it's important to find the right fit. It's okay to change your mind about what you think you want in a college. Sometimes that is part of the process. Be sure to find information about programs and majors, and check that they offer the kinds of opportunities you’re interested in, even if it’s just a general area of study.
College Board www.collegeboard.com
Search and “College MatchMaker" tools allow you to query a database of more than 3500 schools. The site also contains useful student aid and entrance exam information. Your answers to questions about what you are looking for in a college; major, size, location, extracurricular activities, tuition, generate a list of schools that meet your criteria. There are links and comparison tools to learn more about individual colleges. If you register, the site will save your search and colleges that interest you.
College Navigator http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator
A free consumer information resource provided by the U.S. Department of Education. The site has tools and search options that make it quick and easy to gather and compare data about most U.S. colleges and universities. The College Navigator site also has useful links to Federal government sites for financial aid and career planning.
College Funding Kit www.collegefunding.com
Tools to plan and pay for college.
Common Data Set
Google Common Data Set and Name of Institution (e.g., “Common Data Set Vanderbilt”). The Common Data Set refers to the source data that colleges and universities provide annually in a standardized format, for use in college guides and other venues. Analyzing the data can provide insight about admissions, merit aid, and more.
Princeton Review www.princetonreview.com
Use the "Explore Schools" tab to gather information. Princeton Review offers a variety of SAT/ACT test preparation classes and online resources.
Campus Explorer www.campusexplorer.com
This is another college search site. It includes 8,000 schools, including 2-year, 4-year, and online opportunities.
College Confidential www.collegeconfidential.com
This site has gathered all the best college admissions content available online together in one place, including articles and advice on choosing a college, getting into college, paying for college, and college life. There are also forums for parents and students regarding questions that come up while navigating the college selection and admissions process, plus a feature (CampusVibe) where students (and parents) share opinions about colleges with videos, photos, and visit reports.
College Results Online www.collegeresults.org
This site offers interactive tools to query graduation rates at four-year colleges and universities, graduation rates, and other data (e.g., cost, financial aid). The comparison tool provides analogous information for similar colleges. “Some colleges do a much better job of graduating students than others.”
Glossary of College Application & Admission Terms
- Admit — You're in! You are being offered admission to a college to which you applied. Make sure you pay attention to the date by which you need to respond with your acceptance. Typically, merit/financial aid offers arrive after you are admitted.
- Deferred – The admissions decision is being moved to a later date.
- Deferred acceptance — You applied during the early admissions time frame but you were placed on hold to be considered again during the regular admissions time frame and accepted at that point.
- Deny — You are not in. The decision is made by the college or university admissions committee and is forwarded to you and your high school.
- Waitlist — You are not in yet but have been placed on a waiting list in case and opening becomes available. If you are waitlisted, you should still follow up with the college to let them know you remain interested (if indeed you are).
- Waitlist/Accepted – You were placed on the waiting list. An opening became available and you took it.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses — Based on the composite score on an AP test, which ranges from 0 to 5, a college may award college credit or advanced placement to a participating student. A score of a 4 or 5 on the AP test is usually required by colleges for credit or advanced placement in college courses. A 3 is sometimes acceptable in foreign languages and some other subject areas. Some colleges limit the number of AP credits that they will recognize. Check schools' policies on AP credits.
American College Testing (ACT) Program Assessment — An alternative to the SAT. The ACT tests English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. The score is the average of all four tests; the maximum score is 36.
Award package — This is the way colleges and universities deliver their news about student eligibility for financial aid or grants. The most common packages include Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and Work Study (see below).
Candidates Reply Date Agreement (CRDA) — If admitted to a college, a student does not have to reply until May 1. This allows time to hear from all the colleges to which the student applied before having to make a commitment to any of them. This is especially important because financial aid packages vary from one school to another, and the CRDA allows time to compare packages before deciding.
College-preparatory subjects — Courses taken in high school that are viewed by colleges and universities as a strong preparation for college work. The specific courses are usually in the five majors area of English, history, world languages, mathematics, and science. The courses may be regular, honors-level, or AP offerings, and the latter two categories are often weighted when calculated in the GPA.
College Scholarship Service (CSS) — When the federal government changed the FAFSA form several years ago, the College Board created this program to assist postsecondary institutions, state scholarship programs, and other organizations in measuring a family's financial strength and analyzing its ability to contribute to college costs. CSS processes the PROFILE financial form that students may use to apply for nonfederal aid. This form is submitted to some 300 private colleges and universities along with the FAFSA when seeking financial aid from these institutions. Participating colleges and universities indicate whether they require this form.
Common Application — This application form can save students hours of work because it allows students to fill out one set of questions and send it to any of the campuses that use this format. The Common Application (or Common App) is presently accepted by more than 500 colleges and universities. The colleges and universities that accept these standardized forms give them equal weight with their own application forms. Some schools will require a supplementary form to be completed by the applicant. The Common Application is available at www.commonapp.org.
View more information on the Common App on the BHS College Application Process Website under Application Types.
Cost of education — This includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. A student's financial aid eligibility is the difference between the cost of education and the Expected Family Contribution as computed by the federal government using the FAFSA.
Course load — The number of course credit hours a student takes in each semester. Twelve credit hours is the minimum to be considered a full-time student. The average course load per semester is 16 credit hours.
Credit hours — The number of hours per week that courses meet are counted as equivalent credits for financial aid and used to determine you status as a full- or part-time student.
Early Action (EA) — A student applies to a school early in the senior year, between October 30 and January 15, and requests an early application review and notification of admission. The answer usually takes three to four weeks after application. If accepted, the student is not obligated to attend that institution but can bank this admission and still apply to other colleges during the regular admission cycle.
Early Decision (ED) — Sometimes confused with Early Action, the Early Decision plan allows students to apply to an institution early in the senior year, also between October 30 and January 15, and request an early notification of admission. The student and guidance counselor sign a contract with the school at the time of application that indicates that if accepted, the student is obligated to attend that institution. Some colleges and universities offer both ED and EA options.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) — The amount of financial support a family is expected to contribute toward a child's college education. This amount is part of the formula used by the federal government to determine financial aid eligibility using the FAFSA form.
Federal Pell Grant Program — This is a federally sponsored and administered program that provides grants based on need to undergraduate students. Congress annually sets the appropriation; award amounts vary based on need, and the maximum award for 2010-11 is $5,550. This is "free" money because it does not need to be repaid.
Federal Perkins Loan Program — This is a federally run program based on need and administered by a college's financial aid office. This program offers low-interest loans for undergraduate study. Repayment does not begin until 9 months after the borrower drops to less than halftime enrollment status. The maximum loan amount is $5,500 per year.
Federal Stafford Loan — This federal program provides low-interest loans for undergraduate and graduate students. The maximum annual loan amount depends on the student’s grade level. Fixed interest rates will not exceed 6.8%. Repayment does not begin until 6 months after the borrower drops to less than halftime enrollment status. Several repayment options are available.
Federal Work-Study Program (FSW) — A federally financed program that arranges for students to combine employment and college study; the employment may be an integral part of the academic program (as in cooperative education or internships) or simply a means of paying for college.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — This is the federal government's instrument for calculating need-based aid. It is available from high school guidance departments, college financial aid offices, and the Internet (www.fafsa.gov). The form should be completed and mailed as soon after January 1 as possible.
Gap — The difference between the amount of a financial aid package and the cost of attending a college or university. The student and his/her family are expected to fill the gap.
Grants/scholarships — These are financial awards that are usually dispensed by the financial aid offices of colleges and universities. The awards may be need- or merit-based. Most are need-based. Merit-based awards may be awarded on the basis of excellence in academics, leadership, volunteerism, athletic ability, or special talent. Visit the BHS Financial Aid & Scholarships Website for more information.
Honors program — Honors programs offer an enriched, top-quality educational experience that often includes small class size, custom-designed courses, mentoring, enriched individualized learning, hands-on research, and publishing opportunities. A handpicked faculty guides students through the program. Honors programs are a great way to attend a large school that offers enhanced social and recreational opportunities while receiving an Ivy League-like education at a reduced cost.
Merit awards, merit-based scholarships — More "free" money, these awards are based on excellence in academics, leadership, volunteerism, athletic ability, and other areas determined by the granting organization, which can be a college or university, an organization, or an individual. They are not based on financial need. Visit the BHS Financial Aid & Scholarships Website for more information.
Need blind — Admissions decisions made without reference to a student's financial aid request; that is, an applicant's financial need is not known to the committee at the time of decision.
Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) — Each branch of the military sponsors an ROTC program. In exchange for a certain number of years on active duty, students can have their college education paid for up to a certain amount by the armed forces.
Residency requirement — The term has more than one meaning. It can refer to the fact that a college may require a specific number of course to be taken on campus to receive a degree from the school, or the phrase can mean the time, by law, that is required for a person to reside in the state to be considered eligible for in-state tuition at one of its public colleges or universities.
Rolling admissions — There is no deadline for filing a college application. This concept is used most often by state universities. Responses are received within three to four weeks. If admitted, a student is not required to confirm, in most cases, until May 1. Out-of-state residents applying to state universities should apply as early as possible.
Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) I: Reasoning Test — Also known as "board scores" because the test was developed by the College Board. This test concentrates on verbal and mathematical reasoning abilities and is given throughout the academic year at test centers. The maximum combined score for both sections is 1600.
Student Aid Report (SAR) — Report of the government's review of a student's FAFSA. The SAR is sent to the student and released electronically to the schools that the student listed. The SAR does not supply a real money figure for aid but indicates whether the student is eligible.
Waiver to view recommendations — The form many high schools ask their students to sign by which they agree not to review their teachers' recommendation letters before they are sent to colleges.
Interested in Community College?
- Explore the Colorado Community College Website.
- Research transfer policies to 4-year settings.
- Check out the tuition.
- Research options with campus living.
If you use community college to jump-start a 4-year program, your degree won’t say anything about the community college!
Paying for College
In addition to the resource links below, find more information on paying for college under Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Provided by SallieMae, leading national commercial provider of student loans and college savings plans, this site offers free tools for preparation and saving, planning, paying, and managing loans, but also includes tools for deciding on your college, and even help with assessing your personality, interests, and skills to help choose a career direction.
InLikeMe is centered at the intersection of college planning, selection, admissions testing and financial aid with a focus on helping you find your “right fit” schools and develop a strategy to get admitted.
There is not just one college that is perfect for you; indeed, there are many colleges that can offer exactly what you want. The trick is to think about what you want out of the college experience and then look for schools that fit your needs and goals.