November 15, 2022

By Leanne Soulard 

For many seniors, early action college applications have been submitted and any remaining regular decision applications and supplemental essays are on their way to being finished. (Insert huge sigh of relief here.) So what comes next in the college admissions journey now that the most labor-intensive part is over? 

Well, in some ways, it’s time to start over with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Early in the process, we encouraged students to research schools and demonstrate interest as prospective applicants at the colleges on their lists. Now it’s time to engage with these same colleges as a prospective student. Yes, it’s important that you continue to engage with schools to demonstrate interest but in just a few short months, you’ll be faced with the decision of identifying which one of these right-fit colleges is the best-fit college for you academically, socially, and financially. It’s important to keep the big picture of your future in mind when considering your options and that’s harder than you might think. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself that may help you discern the difference between a good fit and a great fit:

Academic fit:

  • How accessible will my teachers be and how important is this to my learning?
  • When I really consider how I learn best (by lecture, through discussion, with 1:1 support from my teacher), which school is best-suited to my learning style?
  • What kind of experiential learning opportunities will be available to me and what kind of support will I receive in putting them together as part of my academic experience? 

Social fit:

  • What is the focus of social life on campus (attending athletic events, Greek life, volunteer activities, religious life?)
  • How is residence life/campus living organized? Are there living/learning communities that interest me? What are weekends in the dorms like?
  • Are there specialized programs that match my values, interests, and lifestyle?

Financial fit:

  • Do I understand how to compare my financial aid awards?
  • Am I getting a good value for my investment (student outcomes, career services, etc.)?
  • Do I need to take out loans? If yes, for how much? What will my loan payments look like after I graduate?

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