Parent College Coach Tip #65: Focus on College Fit

college fitA lot is riding on making a good college list. Your student will be applying to the schools on the final list so they better offer the best chance for student success. Pick and choose which colleges would be a perfect fit. All the experts have advice on how many schools to apply to: some say 7, some say 10 and others say the more you apply to the better your chances. For me, the number isn’t as important as the content. A good college list needs to be well thought out and researched.

A good college list should have three “fit” criteria: financial fit, academic fit, and emotional fit. Once your student has a tentative list, ask if they have all three criteria before finalizing the list.

Financial Fit

Does the college fit into your family’s budget? If it doesn’t fit financially, cross it off the list. While you should never consider a college solely based on the sticker price, you should certainly examine what will happen if your student is accepted and doesn’t receive any financial aid. Remember when factoring in   cost, don’t forget about the add-ons. They can add up and have a substantial effect on your budget.

Academic Fit

Does the college fit into your student’s academic aspirations? This might seem like a no-brainer, but the education is a key factor in attending college. Cross the college off the list if it doesn’t fit into your student’s academic learning style. For instance, is your student looking for smaller class sizes and strong relationships with his professors? A larger university won’t offer this.

Emotional fit

Can your student see himself attending college there? When he visited the campus, did it “feel” right and did he have a rapport with the students he came in contact with? You might think college shouldn’t be an emotional decision, but it is. After all, they will be spending at least four years of their lives there. If they don’t fit into the social climate they will be miserable.

Another thing to consider is positioning. Is your student positioned well with the other applicants, especially if you are looking for merit aid. Are their scores, grades, and achievements good enough to put them at the top of the applicant pool?

As you can easily see, there’s more to refining a college list than picking a college with Greek life or college sports rankings. It’s a place your student will call home and he needs to feel comfortable there. Once you’ve determined if the college has all three criteria, add it to the list. It’s a keeper!

Parents – Want more Parent tips? GET THEM HERE! Don’t forget to read all of the Scholarship Mom Tips here.

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

Share This Post On

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign up for SCV News to stay informed news, tips, and resources for parents, students, educators and counselors alike. Your contact info will not be shared without your permission. We don't like spam and assume you don't either.

You have Successfully Subscribed!