College Planning Resources
Welcome to the APCU college planning resource page! This page was developed for use by students, parents and church officials working with Presbyterian congregations. You'll find a variety of resources here, including presentations that can be downloaded for use at group events, a summary of web resources that can be printed and shared with college-bound students, and direct links to scholarships available through the Presbyterian Church (USA) and APCU member institutions.
For churches and other community groups that would like to incorporate a presentation on higher education and college planning process into their programming for youth, feel free to download the following PowerPoint presentation:
This scripted presentation provides an overview of higher education in the U.S. and then addresses important topics related to evaluating colleges, navigating the college admission process, and understanding how financial aid works. Using the notes that are included with each slide, the presenter should be able to grasp and communicate all of the key points included in the presentation. If additional assistance is needed to utilize the presentation, feel free to contact Jeff Arnold, executive director of the APCU.
To complement the presentation, or simply to provide a helpful handout to college-bound students, you are invited to download the following document:
This document contains links to a variety of websites that provide insight into the college planning process. From college search engines, to online forums, these links cover all the bases. As you explore them note key features and output options that are most beneficial to you for future reference.
To help promote that wide range of options available to you through Presbyterian-affiliated colleges, you can download and print copies of our brochure from this link:
The brochure makes a nice handout at your programs on college planning and can also be distributed through information kiosks at your church.
Scholarships are available to Presbyterian students through a number APCU member colleges and universties and through the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. To learn more about these scholarships, including the amounts of the awards, their application timelines, and the various requirements, please visit the Scholarships page of our website.
The APCU has reviewed a number of websites that address the college selection and evaluation process. The following sites provide a range of services and resources that can be very helpful in assessing "best fit" with individual schools and determining the actual cost of attending these schools.
College Search/Guidance Engines
There are advantages and disadvantages to every college search website. Each offers slightly different output options and may yield different results based on the same set of inputs. It is wise to utilize more than just one search website so that you can verify your results and gain broader insights into the features and benefits of various schools. The APCU finds the following sites to be the most helpful:
This non-for-profit website provides information to help families maximize their eligibility for need-based financial aid while providing clear, concise information about financial aid programs, methodology, and award strategies.
National Association for College Admission Counseling
A national organization comprised of colleges, high schools and school districts that focuses on the transition from high school to college. In addition to resources for professional educators, the NACAC website also contains general college planning information and guidelines for students and parents.
PayScale’s website presents research created through proprietary cloud compensation software, crowdsourced data and unique algorithms to form the world’s largest real-time database of salary profiles and projections. Their data is used by more than 3,000 customers including Bloomberg BNA, Cummins, Warby Parker, Clemson University and Signature HealthCARE.
U.S. Department of Education Navigator Toolset
A comprehensive college-planning website with career information, financial aid information, and academic program information. You'll also find links to a range of research about college affordability and the "College Scorecard" that evaluates colleges on the basis of completion rates and the success of graduates (based on a limited set of income data).
U.S. News & World Report College Resources
This section of the U.S News website provides access to their rankings and a range of other helpful resources. In particular, the “College Insider” series offers articles on a range of relevant topics.