How to Figure out which Colleges "Fit" You!

Finding the “perfect college” is a daunting task, with thousands of colleges in the United States alone, it can be difficult to find the college that is just right for you! Each college has different characteristics, so it can be overwhelming to decide where your priorities lie. So, let’s talk about what are some of the best ways to find your college “fit”.  

First off, what does “fit” mean in the context of the college search process? With so many colleges, there is no school that is “one-size fits all”. Your college “fit” means finding schools that align with your own unique personality and your ideal college experience. If there was one school that fit the needs of every student, there would not be so many colleges providing completely different experiences. And on the flipside of this, keep in mind there is going to be more than one school that matches your needs! 

Second, make a list of your priorities! Do you want a small school or a larger school? Do you care about having access to research or internship opportunities? How much are you willing to spend on an education? Do you want to be close to home or as far away as possible? Try to figure out what really matters to you and create your “ideal” college. Check out the list below for an example of what that might look like! 

My ideal college!  

  1. Smaller school (less than 2,000 students) 

  1. Guaranteed housing (preferably, no communal bathrooms) 

  1. Ability to get involved in research and internships 

  1. Close relationship with faculty members 

  1. Smaller class sizes (ideally, no large lectures) 

Oh! Would you look at that? My ideal school is Olin College of Engineering!  

However, this list may be the exact opposite of what you envision for your own college experience, and that is okay! Olin College is not everyone’s “perfect fit”. 

There are a few categories you want to keep in mind when crafting your own list; academics, environment, and finances. 

  • Academics: majors/minors offered, availability of classes, faculty: student ratio, class sizes, and advising resources would fall into the academic category. 
  • Environment: clubs/extracurriculars, social scene, location, housing, athletics, and dining are a few categories to keep in mind when considering the campus environment.  
  • Finances: return on investment, scholarships, work-study, financial aid, and cost of attendance are also important aspects to keep in mind when researching schools.  

As an Admission Counselor, our role is to ensure we are admitting students we believe would be a good fit for our school. Many schools nowadays practice holistic admission where they are not just admitting based on GPA or SAT scores, but instead looking at who could contribute to the campus community. Here at Olin, we know that we may not be every student’s ideal college experience. Instead, we look for applicants for whom we believe they would enjoy the unique aspects Olin has to offer.  

There is no right or wrong way to find your “college fit”. Research (and visit) a variety of institutions, decide what aspects you like and which ones you don’t, write a list of priorities, and apply to schools, confidently knowing you could "fit" in there!  


Women wearing blazer with cartoon aspects of college above her head