Finding the Right Fit
Recently a parent called to ask if I had ever assisted a “C” student get accepted into a tier one school. When I asked the parent which type of tier one schools she was referring to, she answered, “Harvard.” I told the parent that unless they had a significant connection to the school or were major financial donors that there wasn’t much that I could do. Yes, I have many years of experience helping students with the college process, but I am by no means a miracle worker. I reminded the parent that there are over 350 colleges and universities across the country and that finding the right fit was more important for her child than the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Due to the skyrocketing costs of a college education nowadays, finding the right fit has become ever more important in making decisions. What exactly does right fit mean? The answer to that question has to do with a student’s personality, needs, and wants in a college experience. Will your child survive in a large university environment where there are over 300 students sitting in an auditorium while a professor lectures using a microphone? Or, does your child perform better in smaller classroom environments where there is more discussion with teachers and fellow students? Being a parent myself, I want my daughter to thrive in a school where she is challenged and feeling confident that she can do the work. Even if an average student was admitted into a tier one institution, would that student survive academically? I would not want my child to scrape by and graduate at the bottom of her class. Does your child enjoy the excitement and attractions of the city? Or, does your child prefer the picturesque view and serenity of a traditional college campus? Wants can be just as important as needs in making sure our children have the best learning and living environments for the next four years. Choosing the right school, not just the closest one or the most well-known, multiplies your child’s chance for success and allows him/her to blossom and grow both in and outside of the classroom.