As a high school counselor, you’re a jack-of-all-trades.

That’s pretty much your job description. When it comes to advice about college, students come to you with questions about what it feels like to be enrolled, as well as how to get there, what to do while there and how to navigate life after it. And with colleges constantly changing, you want to have current information.

The good news is you don’t actually need to know everything. You just need to know where to find everything. Start with these nine resources recommended by counselors around the country.


  • 9 Resources College Counselors Should Have on Their Radar

  • American School Counselor Association

    Free educational webinars and an online college admissions specialist training course
  • College Lists Wiki

    250+ hyper-specific college lists (e.g., graphic design programs that don’t require a portfolio)
  • Fiske Interactive

    A deep dive into over 300 of the year’s best colleges
  • Naviance

    Software that helps students narrow down college and career options and creates a personalized plan for their goals
  • Common App

    Virtual Counselor feature lets counselors ask questions and get advice from their colleagues
  • Rugg’s Recommendations

    E-book that highlights colleges organized by major
  • Colleges That Change Lives

    College guide for non-straight-A students who are interested in creating meaningful change
  • Niche

    Current, data-driven lists that rank schools in a myriad of ways (e.g., food, value, program, diversity)
  • National Association for College Admission Counseling

    Organization that offers professional development, continuing ed, networking, insights and advice
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1. American School Counselor Association

While the ASCA is for school counselors of all grade levels, the organization offers valuable information for high school counselors preparing students for college. Its free webinars cover a wide range of topics, including individual career conversations with students and parents, and it offers a college admissions specialist training course online.

2. College Lists Wiki

Curated by college counselors, this wiki houses over 250 lists that break down the schools in hyper-specific ways — think graphic design programs that don’t require a portfolio or the best prep for veterinary school

3. Fiske Interactive

The online extension of the Fiske Guide to Colleges, which is compiled and written by former New York Times education editor Edward Fiske, allows users to take a deep dive into the 316 American colleges that Fiske deems the best and most interesting each year. You can also purchase a 12-month subscription to the online portal, which offers in-depth profiles of Fiske’s picks, deadline trackers and tools to help students discover the right schools for them.

4. Naviance

This software helps students narrow down college choices as well as career options and create a personalized plan to make their goals a reality. If you don’t already have it, you can schedule a demo to learn more about how it works.

5. Common App

Besides being a place for students to apply to more than 700 colleges, the Common App offers valuable information for students and counselors on its Virtual Counselor and Explore Colleges pages. You can get advice from fellow counselors and even ask specific questions on Twitter by tweeting at the @CommonApp and tagging your post with #AskVirtualCounselor.

6. Rugg’s Recommendations

This e-book doesn’t rank colleges, but it does highlight a few of former college counselor Frederick Rugg’s picks and organizes them by major. The latest edition is available for download on Rugg’s site.

7. Colleges That Change Lives

This guide isn’t interested in the best, most competitive schools, but those that can actually create meaningful change, particularly for teens who weren’t straight–A students in high school. It’s organized by geographic region and includes in-depth interviews and insider information about the admissions process. The most recent print edition is from 2012, but you can find recently updated info online.

8. Niche

Consult this regularly updated, data-driven site that ranks schools in myriad ways — including the best online schools, the best food and the best no-application-fee colleges — as well as by state, major, admissions, campus, student life and academics. 

9. National Association for College Admissions Counseling

Don’t forget to use your NACAC membership for everything it’s worth (and if you’re not a member, consider signing up). The 80-year-old organization offers professional development, continuing education and networking opportunities, and its Knowledge Center houses concrete advice and up-to-date insights you can use daily.