College Finance

Comparing Colleges: Tours and Tools

College visits are incredibly valuable — and can be incredibly expensive, particularly if you live in the Midwest and are considering schools on both coasts.

Depending on your family’s resources, you may not actually get to visit all the schools where you are planning to apply. But virtual tours and social media research can make you feel like you know a place inside out.

There are more than 4,000 colleges offering 2-year and 4-year degrees. Whether you visit in person or online, you’ll want to narrow your choices before applying.

Decide What You Want Most From Your College

One way to narrow the field is by deciding which things are most important to you.

Is it location? Big city or small town? Climate? (Don’t lie.) Prestige of the institution? Degrees offered or size of the student body? Average class size?

Other considerations might be the Greek system, Varsity Athletics or intramural sports, theater, and arts programs. You name it, there’s a college that offers it.

Once you know what you want, it’s time to find colleges that offer those features.

Narrow Your College Choices: Two Helpful Tools

To find colleges that have the features you want, go to

To compare the costs of attending the colleges you’re considering, go to

Created and compiled by Kristy Bertsch, cuLearn and a talented writer/editor

Subscribe to get our blog posts -  full of good information and tips for planning and paying for college! 

Click here to see your activities