Don’t Force The College Fit

Look at just about any Independent College Admission website, and you will see some language referring to the goal of finding the right fit for the college applicant, academically and financially.

This has led to a plethora of websites that spit out potential colleges for the applicant based on information you provide, such as size, region, GPA, test scores, generosity with financial aid, retention rate, graduation rate and others. What these queries do not tell you is how happy you will be at a particular school

But there is one very large component that is missing., and that is would you feel comfortable at a specific school. Have you visited the school? How much do you really know about it? Would you have a problem honestly writing a response to an essay question that asked what you have to offer the school or what is it that appeals to you about the school? Can you see yourself at the school?

One of the things we insist on from our college consultants at College Connections is that they work with our applicants in finding out who the students truly are, what are their strengths and weaknesses and what do they want from the college experience. That way, we feel we can create a balanced list of colleges that the applicant is very comfortable with and that meet the criteria of admissibility and affordability, understanding that a few of the schools will be reach schools as far as admissibility.

College Data featured an article the other day written by a college applicant with a strong resume.
Take notice of what became important to the student vs. what originally was important to him.

“From the beginning, I really liked Brown’s open curriculum. It was the opposite of Columbia’s Core Curriculum, which felt too defined. At Brown, I could be the director of my own education. None of the other colleges on my list let you do that. And this was very appealing, since I’m not certain of my major.
At first, I thought I should go to U-Chicago or Cornell because they are better known worldwide, and I want an international career in business or law. Then I realized that the acclaim for these schools is from their research and graduate schools. They don’t necessarily have better undergraduate programs. So it came down to how I felt about the school. And I felt Brown’s curriculum and location in the Northeast was a better fit for me.”

It was Mark Twain who said, “Lies, damn lies, and statistics.” The many available online “college match” databases do serve a purpose. But beware of choosing a school that you know little about, just because it showed up on a database query and do give thought to what is truly important to you.