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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. The common application, is accepted by more than 800 colleges and universities. Note: Free registration is required.

    The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, provides information about preparing for, choosing and financing a college education.

  • Test Preparation
    For online practice tests and tutorial courses for students, see LearningExpress Library database.

Choosing a College

  • 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 and panoramic virtual reality.

  • College Search
    Search by region, major, sports, admissions policies, 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
    The Council for Higher Education Accreditation has developed databases of more than 8,000 institutions, over 44,000 programs, and directories of recognized accrediting organizations. The databases are searchable by institution name/program type, location or accrediting organization.

  • Military Colleges and Academies describes the options available in military colleges and service academies, and provides links to websites.

  • Online Degrees

    • Affordable Colleges Online
      Provides information on online degrees, and ranks online college programs using the website's own methodology. Online colleges meeting the website's criteria are displayed by degree level, major or state and ranked as best, cheapest, having the highest return on investment, etc.

    • Guide to Online Schools
      Provides a variety of tools to assist in online school selection. Search by type of degree and area of study, or find schools in a specific state that offer online programs. Tuition information, student reviews, a ranking of online schools by best value and a side-by-side school comparison feature are also provided.

  • 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
      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 Career VIEW
    Virginia VIEW is the career information system for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The School Search section enables you explore colleges, universities and technical schools in Virginia and throughout the United States.

  • Virginia Colleges and Universities
    Links to Virginia public and private college and university websites along with 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 compiled by the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

  • Bloomberg — Best Business Schools
    Rankings of graduate and undergraduate business programs, full-time, part-time and online.

  • College and University Rankings
    Information on and links to a variety of ranking services. Provided by the University of Illinois.

  • Princeton Review — College Rankings
    Rankings are based on survey responses from thousands of college students. Free registration is required.

  • U.S. News & World Report — College Rankings

    • Best Colleges
      Ranks colleges by major, tier, acceptance rates, graduation rates and other variables.

    • Best Graduate Schools
      Ranks graduate schools by numerous variables within specific program areas, such as business, law, medicine, education, etc.

    • Best Online Programs
      Ranks online undergraduate programs in a wide variety of majors and online graduate programs in business, criminal justice, education, engineering, information technology, and nursing.

Paying for College

  • 529 Plans (Qualified Tuition Programs)

  • FinAid: The Financial Aid Information Page
    Free comprehensive 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 offers tips on recognizing and avoiding financial aid scams.

    • FastWeb
      This site offers free scholarship searches. Note: The user must register by providing a personal profile.

    • QuestBridge National College Match Program
      This organization helps outstanding low-income high school students obtain scholarships and admission to leading colleges. Information and applications are available on the site.

    • 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.

  • U.S. Department of Education

    • Federal School Code Search
      A federal school code is required to complete an application for federal student aid (FAFSA).

    • Federal Student Aid
      Outlines the various types of government financial aid programs and provides links to help choose a college, apply for aid (with the online FAFSA form) or calculate repayment costs, in addition to other useful features. Also available in Spanish.

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