C2C: Finding the Right College Fit
For the third week of the Couch 2 College challenge, you are going to examine your college fit. You’ve already chosen a list of colleges that interest you, but now is the time to buckle down and determine if the colleges you’ve selected are going to work for you.
For this week's challenge, update your Cappex college list with two safety, two match and two reach colleges.
Below are some of the most important things to consider when deciding whether a college will fit your budget and dreams:
Chances are you’ve considered some of the academic programs offered by a college while crafting your list, but now is the time to decide which ones best suit your needs. There are many things to consider:
- Do you want to begin their college education at a community college instead of a four-year college?
- Do the fields of study offered by the college match up with your academic expectations?
- Some students choose a college where they can double major and others create their own major
- How many professors teach classes in your academic major?
- If you don’t know what field of study you want to pursue, does the college have a good process for helping your find a major, such as survey courses and a core curriculum?
Cappex has several articles about academic fit if you need help deciding what’s important to you.
Even if a college checks off everything you want from an academic standpoint, you have to ask yourself: Can I afford this? If the answer is no, you need to look at a college that will fit your budget. Private colleges and universities often offer generous financial aid packages to students, but you have to evaluate the actual offers as they come in.
Also, you must consider the net price, which is the real cost of attending a college. Most colleges offer net price calculators on their website, so be sure to look for one when you’re deciding where to apply. You also can search for a college’s net price calculator at the U.S. Department of Education’s Net Price Calculator Center.
Although academic and financial fit is important, you also need to heavily weigh the social fit. Tour the campus and get a feel for its vibe. If you feel out of place or don’t like what you experience, the college isn’t for you. That’s perfectly OK. You also should speak with current college students to get a sense of what life is really like. Get a sense of the social scene to see if you’ll like your life outside of class. College isn’t just about your studies — it’s an experience designed to shape you as a person, both inside and outside of the classroom.