When you’re trying to pick the college that’s the right match or “fit” for you, there are a lot of things to consider:
- School size
- Class size
- Campus environment
- Clubs and activities
- Distance from home
- Degrees offered
Although each of these is important when you’re making your final decision, maybe the most important factor in terms of what you get out of the experience is the school’s academic rigor.
College, after all, is a time when you want to test your limits and really push yourself so that you can learn and grow as you prepare for your career. Even if a school seems like a good fit on the outside, you need to dig deep and find out if its academic standards are high enough to challenge you and push you to discover your true capabilities.
That said, you also want to be sure not to set yourself up for failure. Know your limits. Look for a college that will test you, but that will also enable you to achieve at a high level academically.
So how do you accurately assess your personal capabilities? A good first place to look is your high school teachers. They’ve been working with you and watching you grow over the past few years, and, more than likely, they have a good idea of what you’re capable of academically. Tell them the colleges you’re interested in and see if they can provide any valuable input on whether or not they think those schools are a good fit for you.
Another good place to check is with current students of that particular school. Many college websites offer a live chat feature where you can speak with current students and ask them questions about the school, classes, faculty, campus and so on. You can also use social media to search for and reach out to students at your target college. It’s best if you can find someone who’s majoring in the area that interests you. Ask them about the workload and what's expected of them on a weekly basis. Try to get them to be as specific as possible so that you can get a clear picture of academic life at that particular school.
You can also look at the college’s admission profile for its most recently enrolled class. If your GPA and test scores are near the top of the profile, more than likely it would be a good match for you academically.
Of course, most schools have enrollment standards and aren’t going to offer you admission unless they believe that you’re truly capable of excelling there. But it’s still smart to do your homework, so to speak, before you begin applying.
Just remember, when you’re looking for the college that’s the right fit for you, try to find one that will challenge and push you academically, while at the same time set you up for success as you prepare for a successful and fulfilling career. ~