credit-college-explorer-nweaFall is usually the time when college applications are on students’ and parents’ minds, but truth is, any time is a good time to start thinking about college applications. College Explorer is a free online tool from the not-for-profit NWEA that helps students in grades 5-9 assess their college readiness. Researchers at NWEA linked RIT (Rausch Unit) scores from the widely used MAP growth assessment to median student ACT® scores of colleges and universities, so students can use their MAP scores to identify which colleges and universities they’re on track to enter or see the benchmark scores of the schools they want to attend. College Explorer provides the most up-to-date profiles of more than 7,000 institutions of higher learning from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard, including: cost of attendance, average annual cost to families, admissions rates, and academic profiles. Students can search for colleges by multiple filters, including RIT scores, school name, location, degree focus, and population focus (such as HBCU, religious affiliation, or single gender). Schools and districts also can embed College Explorer on their websites to provide prospective college students with a direct link to useful data for their college search (the embed code is available here).