Which school is the best 'fit'?
No doubt you've heard this word used a lot but it's true! It's all about the right 'fit' and that can include academic fit, financial fit, geographical fit, cultural fit, and, of course, size. One of our children elected to attend a major state university of around 50,000 students. Our other child decided a smaller private college around 1,000 students with plenty of activities was a better fit. Talk about extremes! However, each school was the right fit for their personalities. Interestingly, academically they could have switched schools and each would have still received an excellent education but the environment made a difference to each. You definitely need to visit the campuses of the colleges where you are applying especially if they are radically different in size. Despite all your college research, you will get a 'feel' for the best campus for you. However, some criteria to consider when deciding on the best fit for size... 1. Are you comfortable with large classes or would you prefer smaller groups and the assurance that the instructor/professor will notice if you are absent from class? Also know that even on extremely large campuses, once you begin taking classes in your major, the class sizes are significantly smaller and your major professors will know you. 2. As a student on a smaller campus, opportunities may come your way a little faster because faculty and administration will know who you are more quickly. On a large campus you may need to be more of a self-advocate to be sure your strengths are recognized. 3. Large universities will have an abundance of majors, minors, and programs. Smaller colleges offer a variety of majors and minors but they may be 'packaged' differently. Also, smaller colleges often offer more opportunities to self-design a major. 4. Outside of class will you feel swallowed up by large numbers of students everywhere or does the thought of this energize you? Do you want the raucous tailgating experience of Division I football or are you just as happy to attend a Division III game that still has lots of excitement but on a smaller scale? Do your research but pay attention to your instincts, personality, strengths, and needs. Enjoy the journey! Consider the possibilities!