“Different strokes for different folks!” I don’t mind if my son has to take a plane to get home, but it has to be non-stop. It has to have a southern feel. It must have a social atmosphere. I do not like cold weather! I want to be able to drive home for the weekend. The atmosphere should be very active. It should be low key. I have an interest in participative as well as spectator sports. I only want spectator sports. I like cities. I like small towns. It must have a competitive biking team for me to be on. The former statements come from actual conversations I’ve had with students while we work through the process of creating their college application list.
Given academic fit, there should be a personal fit to the college you attend. Who wants to be an outsider? Most people like to be comfortable in their environment and college is no exception. When you’re on campus and look around at students’ faces and their scenarios of interactions, do you feel like you could be friends with these people?
There are many ways to determine if you’ll fit into a school. For example, ask yourself how you feel about the school’s location- is it in a city, college town or in the middle of nowhere? What is the right size student population and/or campus for you? Go visit the many websites where students give their honest opinions about their schools, read college guidebooks, talk to past or currently attending students, visit the campus and surrounding town or city. Take advantage of the opportunities when you visit the college campus. Interact with students and “feel” if you would want to get to know them. Get a school newspaper and see what students are doing and saying. Go to favorite student hangouts. Do students seem engaged? Do they seem happy?
The right school for you is specific to who you are. Each individual has their own unique set of schools that work for them. “One size does not fit all.”