How Do I Find The Information I Need On These Huge College Websites?

Learn how to navigate college websites to find the information you're looking for.

February 25, 2014

The Campus Explorer college search is a valuable tool for your college research. You can narrow down your choices by a variety of factors.

Visit ten different college websites, and you will find ten sites that each have their own layout, jargon and terminology. During your college search, you may not even be sure where to start. For example, the website for UCLA has direct links for both "prospective students" and "current students," whereas USC simply has a general link for "students."

The differences in each university’s website can make your college search confusing, both for students graduating high school and those going back to college after working on their careers. However, understanding the basic layout of these huge websites will simplify your search and help you find the college information you’re seeking more easily.

Generally, visiting the college’s internal sites for each major or degree program will allow you to locate required data for that program, such as required high school coursework.

Find Enrollment Requirements for Colleges

“University enrollment requirements” is one of the most searched topics for prospective students. For UCLA, for example, the information can be found by clicking "Prospective Students," followed by "Undergraduate Admissions" (or "Graduate Admissions" if you’re applying to graduate school). Then click "Prospective Students" again, followed by "How to Apply."

Each website will use its own wording, but there are some terms that you’re likely to find. Look for key words such as "prospective students," admission/enrollment requirements" or "review policy." If none of those terms come up, use the search bar to find what you’re looking for.

College websites may list specific GPA requirements, minimum high school coursework (how many years of math and English, for example), the standardized tests you should take, as well as if the application includes essays and letters of recommendation and other requirements for specific degree programs.

Generally, visiting the college’s internal sites for each major or degree program will allow you to locate required data for that program, such as required high school coursework. For example, UCLA requires specific high school math and science credits for those entering engineering or applied science fields.

Find College Deadlines and Fees for Majors and Programs

Entry into degree programs (even online degrees) requires that you submit your college applications by a particular date. Each school chooses their own deadlines for early decision enrollment and traditional enrollment, so be sure you keep track of your deadlines for each school. These are generally found under links in "Prospective Student" pages.

Tables or data for in-state and out-of-state tuition and application fees are generally found here as well. Within the fees section of the college site, you may also find links to financial aid or scholarship options. Use those links to find deadlines and requirements for that college aid.

Applying to Colleges and Other Degree Programs

The majority of colleges offer online applications for enrollment. To apply online, you may be required to create an online account with that particular school. If you can’t find college requirements elsewhere on a college’s website, you will find them on the college application.

Online applications are often easier and more convenient to fill out than paper applications. For example, filling out a California Application for Admission and Scholarships through UCLA allows you to simultaneously apply to nine UC schools at once.

When applying online, be sure you have chosen the application for the semester you want to start. Doing so will ensure you are admitted for the correct fall or spring semester in which you intend to begin your university degree program.

Seeking Additional Help with Online Degrees and Education Data

If you are having trouble finding specific data on a college website, call or send an e-mail to a college admissions counselor. Use the "Contact Us" links typically provided on websites for colleges and universities.

The Campus Explorer college search is a valuable tool for your college research. You can narrow down your choices by a variety of factors, such as major, degree programs and location, and get direct access to information about each college as well as a link to more than 6,000 college websites.

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