It’s easy to hard to find information on colleges, its hard to sort out what’s good info from what’s bad. I am constantly sending emails to people about tools to support college search and learning about what tools are good and which aren’t. So I’m going to try to compile my favorite things in this post.

This will include all the things I think you should read and use to help you understand the higher education landscape and related industries. This is essentially the listicle form of this post with additional things added in each section. I’ll update it as I remember.


College Admissions Is Impossible!

The popular narrative that many hear is that is impossible to get into college. That’s a lie that focuses on just a few popular big brand colleges. Here are a few resources to help you understand and unlearn that.

What about GPA


Ratings can be useful but rankings are generally terrible. As my friend James Murphy says “College rankings are not science. They are an argument about what should be valued in colleges. They are an argument about which colleges should occupy our attention and get our support.”

Testing and Test Optional

Some good resources to understand testing and test optional.

Paying for college, Financial Aid, and Merit Aid

Resources for cost of and paying for college.

College Informational Search Engines

Unlike list builder sites, which focus on “can you get in”, these help you figure out “is this school right for me.” These sites will help you find data about colleges, a lot of the data comes from IPEDs or CDS but different sites select different data to display and prioritize different information.

College Admissions Staff/Offices On Social

  • Georgia Tech’s blog is kinda amazing. It’s thoughtful, fun and informative.
  • Rick Clark is a great person to follow and listen to. He understands the quest for highly rejective schools but doesn’t lean into the crazy. Twitter and Georgia Tech blog.
  • Jeannine Lalonde of UVA is on all the platforms Twitter,  Instagram or TikTok. If you can ignore her obsession with her dog, you’ll learn a lot about admissions in general and UVA particularly. My favorite post is this one about GPA.
  • Jon Boeckenstedt from Orgeon State is a treasure trove of data. check out higher ed data stories . . . here is one on merit aid/discount rates
  • Andy Borst, of UIUC, his office puts out great info. Check out page 19.

Independent College Counselors

Some independent counselors are experts in the field, some are used car salesmen, some are parents who once got their kid into a “good school.” It’s hard to tell who’s who. Everyone claims experise and lists fancy colleges supposed previous clients were admitted to. If you decide you need more personalized help than your own school’s college office can give, make sure you do your research or you might end up being charged $1.5M. These folks below are some people I like in the industry

  • Jenn the Tutor (VA). A brand. A force. Mission driven.
  • Shereem Herndon-Brown (GA). Co-author of The Black Family’s Guide to College
  • Mark Moody (CA). Super especially knowledgeable when it comes to working with independent school families and international applicants.
  • Keith Wilkerson (PA) College Thoughts
  • Stacey Cunitz (PA) Blue Moon Education. Look at her site her whole vibe is “talk you off the edge”

Test Prep 

  • Bell Curves –   I used to own it and so I trust their people. I wrote first few versions of their materials and trained many of their teachers. 
  • Keith Wilkerson (PA) College Thoughts
  • Compass Prep has a great guide to testing.
  • Some of the guys to trained me to teach SAT are still tutoring at InspiricaPros

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