Free Online Resources for College Applicants

The college application process can be somewhat of a labyrinth, from squeezing four years into a single resume to handling interviews for what might be the first time in your life. Where do you even start?! And don’t even MENTION all those essays. Well, I have good news for you. Rising juniors, seniors, transfer students, or anyone else who’s getting ready to apply to college: this one’s for you! Fear not. Many have gone before you and survived to tell the tale, and tell it we will! As someone who just recently emerged from the chaos, I’ve collected a list of very helpful and FREE resources to help guide you through the process, and I’ve got some tips and tricks of my own to offer! The best part is these resources are all online, right at your fingertips. These resources can be particularly beneficial to students who don’t have adequate support from their family and/or school in navigating this challenging, multi-step process.

1. College Essay Guy

The college essay is one of the most fearsome aspects of the entire application process. Thankfully, College Essay Guy is here to save the day—for free! On his website, you can find all sorts of resources from general writing advice to tips specific to different essay types. College Essay Guy provides online support to anyone who needs it, and this support even goes beyond essay-writing. He has his very own podcast, where he provides comprehensive guidance that includes interviews with the college admissions world’s best experts in the fields of financial aid, test prep, and more. For those who are interested, College Essay Guy also does offer college counseling services, one-on-one tutoring, online courses, and more (these are not free though!). Check out College Essay Guy for some of the best quality guidance out there!

2. CollegeVine

Virtual school tours, admissions chances calculators, livestream webinars and Q&As, resume and essay editing—you name it, CollegeVine has it, and more! Sign up for free at CollegeVine, and gain access to an array of college application resources, including Q&As with real admissions counselors and alumni, as well as essay editing from both professionals and fellow CollegeVine users. You can even “add” all the schools you’re applying to, and fill out an online resume provided by CollegeVine to see your chances of being admitted to the school, the areas you should improve in to increase your chances, and whether the school is ranked for you as a Safety, Target, or Reach. Get started today on CollegeVine for free!

3. SuperTutorTV

Found on YouTube as well as their very own website, SuperTutorTV offers free test prep and college application advice to help students tackle the most formidable parts of the process. Their recent videos include helpful content about the SAT Essay, varsity athletics in college, a walkthrough of the CommonApp Additional Information section, letters of recommendation, and more. Of course, the college application process isn’t entirely mechanical, and we aren’t robots. Alongside giving tips on the hard and fast parts of the process, SuperTutorTV also publishes more conversational and motivational content, such as their recent “Advice for my 18-Year-Old Self” YouTube video, which can serve as both emotional support and inspiration for the introspection needed to write college essays. Check out SuperTutorTV—they are only a click away!

4. Reddit (r/ApplyingtoCollege)

While many people may shy away from the idea of consulting a site like Reddit for legitimate college advice, I emphatically declare: GO FOR IT!!! Reddit has many “subreddit” forums and threads, but I’ve personally found r/ApplyingtoCollege to be the most helpful during my own college process. On this subreddit, you can find extremely genuine advice and even emotional support and solidarity, because it’s followed by hundreds of fellow college applicants, as well as real admissions experts, parents, and current college students who have been through the process themselves. Affectionately abbreviated to “A2C” by Redditors, r/ApplyingtoCollege offers a wide array of resources such as application megathreads, where each school has a specific thread for applicants to ask and answer questions, deadline and results calendars, AMAs (Ask Me Anything—for information about interviews, essays, deferral letters, etc.) and more. You can also join r/(school name) to find out more from current students and fellow prospective applicants. On r/A2C, I even found and joined a Discord for the school I applied early to, and I met a lot of people who are my friends and college confidantes to this day!

5. AP Daily: Online AP Classroom

Calling all remote students! Kidding—this one’s helpful WHENEVER, wherever, to whomever. Sometimes, we just need that little extra bit of help to get us to the score we want on an AP exam. This free YouTube channel offers just the help we need! AP Daily provides numerous channels, each with its own series of videos walking through a specific AP topic—try: Chemistry, Computer Science, Biology, English Language, Psychology, and much, much more! From detailed, instructor-guided lessons to practice problems, these videos have it all. At the end of every video series, each AP playlist also includes a few extra helpful videos that allow you to do practice exams in real-time. If you’re getting ready to take an AP or two sometime in the future, be sure to check out AP Daily videos!

6. College YouTubers

The college application process isn’t all about the boring stuff of testing, writing, interviewing, and more testing. Ultimately, you’re looking for a school that best fits YOU and your goals. Remember that word: FIT. If you’re going to be spending the next four years at this place, you better make sure it’s a good one! That’s where college YouTubers come into handy. YouTubers like Dominique Cynthia, Josh Beasley, Christine Lee, Nina Wang, Arpi Park, TheKathPath, and more are all real college students who do all sorts of things like give college application tips, offer college life advice, and vlog their own experiences on campus, giving you a good glimpse into what real college life is like. Some of these YouTubers also offer personal insights into different aspects of college—application tips they wish they knew, college life hacks, and so on. At the request of their viewers, many of them also published videos in which they read their own college essays! At the end of the day, these college YouTubers are students just like you and me who also had to go through the process themselves. Watching their videos is kind of like having an older sibling guide you through the entire process!