Created By: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Focus: College readiness
Big Picture: This easy-to-navigate site provides information for three distinct groups of learners—current middle-school and high-school students, members of the military, and working adults—all of whom are looking for higher-education opportunities. The Make a Plan section gives students a variety of strategies for college prep, including info on the Recommended High School Program—which will set them up for success no matter what kind of college they attend. Other useful tools in the section include the Compare College TX tool (to find schools based on user input) and Aid for College in Texas (for determining the cost of Texas institutions).
Big Challenge Solved: A virtual instruction manual for getting into college, the site excels in helping hopefuls create the right plan of attack, no matter how old they are or which path they’re taking—and it’s all laser-focused on Texas schools.
Must-Use: The College Locator is an interactive map of Texas that clearly shows where most of the state’s two- and four-year colleges are located—clickable icons provide essential data about each school.
Most Unique Tool: Invaluable is the State’s Net Price Calculator, a tightly-focused tool enabling users to drill down to comparisons of costs and grant opportunities, with a follow-up link for immediately applying for financial aid.
Best Middle-School Student Tool: Clicking on The Tests You’ll Need link in the Students section gives middle-schoolers a preview of the tests to come (and why they’re important), as well as web resources they can use to start planning ahead.
Best High-School Student Tool: The College Match-Up lets users choose from a list of criteria to find schools that meet important needs like cost, whether two- or four-year, and enrollment size. Results can be compared in even more detail.
Protip: The site is a stand-alone resource, as well as a launching pad to external resources (like the very robust OnTRACK site for college readiness)—just be sure to open external links in a new tab, so you can toggle back and forth.