Well, many of you have already heard from some of the schools that you have applied to, and most of the others will be replying in the next two weeks. You will need to decide on a final choice and send in “intent to register” and a deposit by May 1st. It is always surprising to me how much more you learn about a school once you know that you are actually accepted at that school. I guess that it is difficult to really look into all that a school has to offer until it is ACTUALLY a reality. The trick now is to really learn about the school and to imagine what it will be like for you for four years.
As you will recall, we have always focused on finding the Best Fit school. You would have created a list to shoot for that was based on selectivity and chances to get in, but that list should never be considered a hierarchy of schools on preference, only on selectivity. It is now your task to understand which of these schools is now the BEST fit for YOU. In this, we can review what others, like US News, thinks of the schools, but it is far more important to rank the schools based on your own preferences.
I have discussed some of the areas that I feel are important to consider and also attached what I call a “Right Fit – Matrix”. As opposed to being any formula, the Right Fit Matrix is there to help organize your research. You should feel free to customize this based on your own specific criteria. Hopefully, through the process of your research, you will determine the best fit for you.
Remember, college is like a buffet. Huge buffets are not necessarily better, as we can only eat so much. Notable buffets are often over-rated and too expensive. And most of all, a buffet’s benefit is that you can choose what you want. Make sure that the buffet that you are choosing offers you exactly what you are looking for.
1. Name Recognition
Large universities tend to have greater name recognition than small colleges. For example, once you leave the US, you’ll find more people who have heard of Stanford University than Pomona College. Both are extremely competitive top-notch schools, but Stanford will always win the name game.