College Match Help
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Use College Match to search for colleges that match your personal preferences, or to find any college by name.

Match by Name
Match by Preferences
City
State
Region
Student Body Size
Gender Mix
Public/Private - Institution Type
Entrance Difficulty
Freshman Satisfaction
Graduation Rate
Cost of Attendance
Financial Friendliness
   Financial Need Met
   Student Debt
   Merit Aid
Sports
Student Background
Academic Discipline/Major

Match by Name

Find any U.S. college or university by entering its name in the space provided. As you type, a drop down list of matching colleges will display.

  • If the college you want is on the list, select it. This will automatically submit the search form.
  • If the college you want isn't on the list, hit the Enter or Return key on your keyboard or click the "Find" button to see a list of results including all colleges that match the text you entered.

If you aren't sure of the exact name, enter key word(s) in the name. For example, if you enter "San Diego" your results will include San Diego Christian College, San Diego State University, University of San Diego, and University of California, San Diego. If you enter part of the name, your results will include all colleges that contain that text. You can also enter well known abbreviations, such as UCLA or SUNY.
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Match by Preferences

Find the colleges that match your personal preferences for location, cost, size, and more. You can search broadly — for example for all colleges in a particular state — by selecting only one criterion. Or you can do a narrower search for colleges in certain states, in particular size and cost ranges, and which offer specific majors.

For best results, start with the match criteria that are most important to you. If there are too many colleges in your results, add more criteria to narrow the field. If there are too few colleges in your results, remove some criteria and search again.

Click "find" to execute your search. Click "clear" to clear text from the "City" field and return all pull-down menu values to "No Preference."

Here is an example of how Match by Preference works. You enter "Chicago" in the city field, "New York" and "Pennsylvania" for states, "Great Lakes" for region, "2,500-4,999" and "5000-9,999" for size, "Coed" and "Women Only" for gender mix, "No Preference" for public/private, "Very Difficult" for entrance difficulty, "80% or Higher" for freshman satisfaction, "60% or Higher" for graduation rate, "No Preference" for cost of attendance, "90% or higher" for financial need met, "60% or higher" for merit aid, "$20,000 or less" for student debt, "Cross-Country" and "Volleyball" for women's sports, "Football" for men's sports, "≥10%" African American and "≥10%" Hispanic for student background, and the major "Botany" and discipline "Physical Sciences" for discipline/major.

Your match results will include all colleges and universities in the Chicago metropolitan area, Pennsylvania, New York, and the Great Lakes region that ALSO: have student bodies of 2,500-9,999; AND are coed OR for women only; AND have an entrance difficulty of very difficult; AND have a freshman satisfaction rate of 80% or higher; AND have a four-year graduation rate of 60% or higher; AND meet 90% or more of freshman students' financial need; AND give merit aid to 60% or more freshmen; AND whose graduates have $20,000 or less in student loan debt; AND have women's cross-country AND volleyball teams AND a men's football team; AND have an undergraduate student body that is at least 10% African American AND 10% Hispanic; AND offer a major in biology OR at least one major in the physical sciences discipline. Because you selected "No Preference" for public/private and cost of attendance, your results will include both public and private institutions and colleges in all cost ranges.
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City
Enter the name of any U.S. city to find colleges located there. For major metropolitan areas, such as New York or Chicago, colleges in the city as well as in the surrounding area will be included in your results.
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State
Find colleges in particular states. States (and U.S. territories) are listed in alphabetical order. You may select up to 16 states. Your results will include colleges located in each state you select.
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Region
Find colleges in particular geographic regions. Click a region on the map to select it. You may select up to three regions. Your results will include colleges located in each region you select.

Region States Included
Great Lakes Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin
Mountain Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
Northeast Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont
Plains Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota. South Dakota
South Atlantic Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
South Central East Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee
South Central West Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas
West Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington
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Student Body Size
Student body size refers to the number of undergraduate students. Graduate and post-graduate students are not included. You may select more than one size range. Your results will include colleges that match any size range you select.
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Gender Mix
Gender mix refers to the composition of the undergraduate student body. Most colleges are coeducational, but some are for men only or women only. You may select more than one gender mix. Your results will include colleges that match any gender mix you select.
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Public/Private - Institution Type
Public colleges are funded in part by state governments and usually offer admissions priority and lower tuition to state residents. Private colleges operate independently and are supported mainly by tuition, fees and private funding. Private colleges typically have higher tuition than public colleges but often are able to provide more generous financial aid. Private for-profit colleges typically offer programs that prepare students for specific careers. They are privately owned businesses that are operated to earn a profit, and they tend to have higher tuition and offer less financial aid. You may select only one institution type.
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Entrance Difficulty
Entrance difficulty is a measure of the academic qualifications of recently enrolled freshmen and the proportion of applicants who are admitted. The greater the entrance difficulty, the higher the class rank and test scores of enrolled freshmen and the lower the percentage of applicants admitted. At public institutions, the entrance difficulty used applies to residents. At many public institutions, particularly the more selective ones, entrance is more difficult for nonresidents than for residents. Each college reports its entrance difficulty, choosing the category that best matches from the following:

Most Difficult More than 75% of freshmen were in the top 10% of their high school class and scored over 1310 on the SAT or over 29 on the ACT; about 30% or fewer of all applicants accepted.
Very Difficult More than 50% of freshmen were in the top 10% of their high school class and scored over 1230 on the SAT or over 26 on the ACT; about 60% or fewer of all applicants accepted.
Moderately Difficult More than 75% of freshmen were in the top 50% of their high school class and scored over 1010 on the SAT or over 18 on the ACT; about 85% or fewer of all applicants accepted.
Minimally Difficult Most freshmen were not in the top 50% of their high school class and scored somewhat below 1010 on the SAT or below 19 on the ACT; up to 95 of all applicants accepted.
Noncompetitive Virtually all applicants accepted regardless of high school rank or test scores.

You may select more than one entrance difficulty. Your results will include colleges that match any entrance difficulty you select.
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Freshman Satisfaction
Freshman satisfaction refers to the number of freshmen who return sophomore year, also known as retention rate. It provides a good indication of how satisfied students are with a college and their freshman year experience. If most freshmen are satisfied enough to return, it's more likely that if you choose this college you will be satisfied, too. For colleges in our database, 75% of freshmen returned sophomore year, on average. The median was 76%, meaning half of the colleges had a higher retention rate and half had a lower retention rate. Approximately 81% of colleges provided this information. Keep in mind that some reasons students don't return have nothing to do with how satisfied they are with the college itself - for example, an illness or family problem, a student's lack of readiness to be away from home or at any college, or a student's dissatisfaction with a general characteristic of the college, such as size or location. You may select only one freshman satisfaction range.
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Graduation Rate
Graduation rate refers to the number of full-time undergraduates who are able to earn a bachelor's degree in four years or less. If most students are able to graduate in four years, it's more likely that if you choose this college you will be able to as well. For colleges in our database, the average four-year graduation rate is 40%. The median was 37%, meaning half of the colleges had a higher graduation rate and half had a lower graduation rate. Approximately 73% of colleges provided this information. If a college has a lower graduation rate it may mean that a sizeable number of students drop out before graduating or have difficulty getting the support and classes they need to stay on track. Most colleges report four-, five-, and six-year graduation rates. For colleges in our database, the average five-year graduation rate is 52% and the average six-year graduation rate is 55%. We provide a college's four-, five-, and six-year graduation rates on the Students page of its College Profile. You may select only one graduation rate range.
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Cost of Attendance
Cost of attendance includes the total annual undergraduate tuition and required fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses associated with attending college. At public colleges, tuition and fees are often different for state residents and nonresidents. A college will be included in your match results if you select a cost of attendance range that corresponds to either the resident cost or the nonresident cost. You may select only one cost of attendance range.
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Financial Friendliness
What makes a college financially friendly? The cost of attendance is one obvious factor, but it's not necessarily the most important one. It's likely that a college's generosity will have a greater impact on whether you can afford to attend. A financially friendly college is generous; it offers more financial support to more students. Factors that reflect a college's generosity include how fully the college covers students' financial need, how many students receive sought-after merit aid, and how much students have to borrow to attend.
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Financial Need Met
Any financial need that a college does NOT cover increases what you have to pay. So, the higher the percent of your financial need the college meets, the better! Financial need met refers to the portion of students' financial need a college typically covers with some form of financial aid. Colleges use information you provide on the FAFSA, CSS Profile, and other documents to determine your financial need. A college can meet all or just a part of your financial need. For colleges in our database, the average percent of financial need met for freshmen is 70%. The median is 72%, meaning half of the colleges meet a higher percent of financial need and half meet a lower percent of financial need. Approximately 71% of colleges provided this information. You may select only one financial need met range.
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Student Debt
The less money you have to borrow to attend college, the less you will have to repay after you graduate. If students typically graduate with a large amount of student loan debt, it could mean that the college does not fully cover students' financial need or includes a lot of loans in its financial aid packages, or both. For colleges in our database, the average indebtedness of new graduates is $28,079. The median is $28,444, meaning at half of the colleges students graduate with more debt and at half students graduate with less debt. Approximately 68% of colleges provided this information. You may select only one student debt range.
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Merit Aid
The higher the percent of freshmen receiving merit aid, the better the chances are that you will also receive merit aid. Merit aid refers to grants or scholarships that a college awards without regard to financial need on the basis of things like achievement, special talent, and personal qualities. Some colleges award merit aid to many students, some award merit aid to a small number of students, and some award no merit aid at all. (Colleges that award only need-based aid may still be financially friendly, depending upon your circumstances, because some offer generous aid to families at higher income levels.)

You can search by merit aid awarded to all freshmen, regardless of whether they also received any need-based financial aid, as well as by merit aid awarded only to freshmen without financial need. For colleges in our database, the average percent of freshmen receiving merit aid is 42%. The median is 33%, meaning half of the colleges award merit aid to more than 33% of freshmen and half award merit aid to fewer than 33% of freshmen. The average percent of freshmen who have no financial need and receive merit aid is 15%, and the median is 14%. Approximately 67% of colleges provided this information. To search by merit aid awarded ONLY to students without financial need, check the box. You may select only one merit aid awarded range.
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Sports
Intercollegiate sports teams may be varsity or club level. Both compete against other colleges, but typically - although not always - the level of competition and commitment required are greater at the varsity level. Varsity teams must comply with NCAA (or other athletic conference) rules, practices and games are mandatory, and financial support is provided by the school's athletic department. Many club teams travel and compete in official leagues, but they do not receive full financial support from the athletic department. Club teams may have less stringent participation requirements and may be funded as a student organization or by member dues. Some larger universities have varsity and club teams in the same sport. You may select more than one sport. If you check the club sports box, your results will include colleges that offer the sport at the club and/or varsity level. Only colleges that offer ALL the sports you select will be included in your results.
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Student Background
The ethnic background categories apply to U.S. students only. International students refers to students from other countries. For colleges in our database, the average and median level of representation of students of particular backgrounds is: American Indian/Alaska Native 0.7% (median 0.3%), African American 13.8% (median 7.4%), Asian/Pacific Islander 5.2% (median 2.5%), Hispanic 11.5% (median 6.8%), International 4.5% (median 2.6%). Approximately 78% of colleges provided this information. You may select only one level of representation for each student background. Only colleges that match ALL the student background levels you select will be included in your results.
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Academic Discipline/Major
Academic disciplines are broad areas of study, such as business, education or physical sciences. Majors are specific areas of study associated with disciplines. Match by major if you have a specific major or majors in mind. Match by discipline if you are interested in finding all colleges that offer any programs associated with the discipline. Disciplines are listed in alphabetical order, and majors appear indented under the corresponding discipline name, also in alphabetical order. You may select up to three disciplines and majors. If you check the box to include all majors, only colleges that offer ALL the majors you select will be included in your results. Otherwise, your results will include all colleges that offer at least one discipline/major you select.
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