Where do you want to go to college? If you are a rising senior (or younger) it is important to think about developing your own college list. You may have your top-choice already in mind and have researched it fully. However, it is important to apply to more than one college so that you can leave your options open as you compare financial aid offers. CAA coaches encourage our students to have several good fit colleges on their list.
Why is it important to find good fit colleges for your list? Colleges look for students who have a deep understanding of how they will fit into their campus environment. This means that there is research involved from your end before you apply. Colleges often reward students who are a great fit and can clearly express that to them with merit-based financial aid!
There are a few areas to consider as you think about your fit with a college:
Academic Fit: For a college to be considered a good academic fit you’ll need to be strong in the areas the college considers important for admission. Some colleges put more emphasis on test scores, others on your high school record; some consider your involvement in extracurricular activities and some don’t. This may even be changing for upcoming application cycles. Also, be sure the college has your major before you put it on your list.
Social and Emotional Fit: Does this college offer the extracurricular options that you want? Will they make you feel safe and supported as you move through your college journey? Do they offer the size of classes you want and how close is the college to your home? There are many questions you can ask and they can vary based on what is important to you and your well-being on campus. College is more than just classes.
Financial Fit: Is the college affordable for your family? You should not base your final answer on the Cost of Attendance you see online. What your family actually pays will be determined by your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), your ability to qualify for Merit Aid, and the generosity of the college. They may have a cost calculator on their financial aid page to offer more information for you. As you compare what different colleges offer, you will see that some colleges are more generous than others.
Take the time to compare options as you are making your college list. Each person can have their own qualifications for what constitutes as a match. The CAA coaches are here to help you compare colleges and discuss your list. Reach out as you are ready!