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Lifelong Education and Learning

Lifelong education and learning opportunities made available through the Fairfax County Public Library

College Planning

Good Starting Points

  • Common Application (Common App)
    Complete one online application and submit it to multiple schools. More than 900 colleges and universities accept the Common Application. Note: Requires free registration.
    The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, provides information about preparing for, choosing and paying for a college education.
  • Test Preparation
    For online practice tests and tutorials for students, see LearningExpress Library database.

Choosing a College

  • Affordable Colleges Online
    Provides information on online degree programs and ranks programs using the website's own system. Rankings include most affordable by type, best overall by type, having the highest return on investment, etc.
  • American Institutions of Higher Education
    Links to the websites of two- and four-year colleges and universities arranged geographically by region. Provided by Wikipedia.
  • Campus Tours
    Tour U.S. college and university campuses on this site featuring mobile device- and GPS-ready interactive maps with panoramic virtual reality.
  • College Search
    Search by region, major, sports, admissions policy, size, setting (urban/rural), coed or single sex, or other criteria. Produced by the College Board.
  • Graduate Programs

  • Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized U.S. Accrediting Organizations
    Search the Council for Higher Education Accreditation database of over 8,200 institutions, more than 44,000 programs, and recognized accrediting organizations in the United State and abroad.
  • Military Schools
    Today's Military describes the education options available in military service academies, senior colleges and maritime academies. Provides links to websites for further details.
  • Peterson's College Information
  • Find a college, online program, or certificate program. Search the database by school or area of study along with type of degree and optional keyword.
  • Study Abroad

    • Center for Global Education
      Find information on education programs abroad, links to colleges and universities worldwide and access to the SAFETI (Safety Abroad First — Educational Travel Information) Clearinghouse.
    • Study Abroad
      Directory of study abroad programs, which is searchable by country or subject area of study. Provided by
  • Virginia Colleges and Universities
    Provides links to Virginia public and private college and university websites and displays their accreditation status. Maintained by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
  • Virginia Education Wizard
    Learn how to enroll in one of Virginia's many community colleges, transfer to a four-year college or university, plan a career path, pay for college and more.
  • Virginia Private Colleges
    The Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia, provides information about admissions, financial aid and tuition assistance grants (TAG) at private colleges in Virginia.

College & University Rankings

  • Academic Ranking of World Universities
    Annual ranking of the top 500 universities from the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
  • Bloomberg — Best Business Schools
    Rankings of graduate schools. Includes full-time, part-time and online programs.
  • College and University Rankings
    Describes and links to wide array of rankings. From Illinois University Library.
  • Princeton Review — College Rankings
    Rankings are based on survey answers from thousands of college students. Requires free registration.
  • U.S. News & World Report — College Rankings
    • Best Colleges
      Ranks colleges by major, acceptance rates, graduation rates and other variables.
    • Best Graduate Schools
      Ranks graduate schools by program areas such as business, law, medicine, education, etc. Also ranks schools by programs and specialties.
    • Best Online Programs
      Ranks online undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of majors. Offers information and advice to help you find the right program.

Paying for College

  • 529 Plans (Qualified Tuition Programs)
  • Federal Student Aid
    Learn all about financial aid and how it works. Apply for aid with the online FAFSA form, renew your FAFSA application and more. Also available in Spanish. From the U.S. Department of Education.
  • FinAid
    A free and extensive resource for all types of financial aid information on the Web.
  • Homeless and Low-Income Student Resources
    MoneyGeek offers money-saving and budgeting tips for these college-bound students.
  • Scholarships
    • Avoiding Scholarship Scams
      The College Board provides tips on how to recognize and avoid financial aid scams.
    • FastWeb
      Offers free scholarship searches. Note: The user must register by providing a personal profile.
    • QuestBridge National College Match Program
      Helps outstanding low-income high school students obtain scholarships and admission to leading colleges. Apply online. Requires free registration.
    • ROTC Programs
      Participants in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program receive a paid college education in exchange for a commitment to service in the military after graduation.
    • Scholarship Search
      Locate scholarships and other financial aid programs from non-college sources. Produced by the College Board.
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