How to find the best-fit college? All you need to know
As a parent, it is essential to consider the benefits of providing your child high quality education. Enrolling your child in a distinguished university increases the returns on their schooling and distinguishes their career.
At the same time, choosing an institute that aligns with your child’s profile is a task of utmost importance. Some would even call it the make-or-break decision.
A review by Matthew Mayhew and his co-authors of 1800 research studies reflects on how the selected college could affect your child in various ways economically, socially, psychologically, and intellectually.
In a world of IIMs and IITs, it would be wise to know:
- If these are suitable options for your child
- Are these your only options.
To ensure that your child is part of an academic environment that nurtures their unique faculties, take note of the following.
Top ranked colleges are not necessarily the best-fit college
There is a widely-held misconception that top-ranked colleges are the absolute best. While there is merit in these famous universities being labelled as great institutions; the rank may not be the best metric of “fit.”
Popular websites that rank colleges have a set of parameters that they consider while ranking them from top to bottom. The criteria considered can vary from website to website, and these are not specific to the individual preferences of each student and, therefore, can be highly generalized.
Brand value is another main factor that plays a significant role in deciding between different universities for parents and students. The brand value varies from region to region.
It depends on the portrayal of a college to a specific audience. Having alumni from a particular university in a social circle can also influence the decision to pick a university for many parents and students. So, parents and students may choose which is the best university rather than the best-fit university for them.
What is the best-fit college?
The best-fit college for one student is hardly ever the best-fit college for another, even if the course of study is ordinary for them both. Two top colleges that offer the same principal can be completely different choices for these students.
While one college could provide a great deal of work experience while studying, the other can be a traditional college that entirely focuses on academics.
It is significant for every student and parent to understand which environment will work best in the future. Thus, a parent can choose the best-fit college for their child only after they know what their child expects from a college, especially as a contribution to their future career.
What to consider while choosing the best-fit college
Before shortlisting options, parents and students need to discuss what they’re expecting out of a university. If flexibility in courses is a choice for the students in, then the UK may not be the best place.
Most UK colleges demand students choose the course they want to study before admission and continue to learn the subject throughout their period in college. However, many colleges in the US offer students more flexibility when choosing their courses.
Students should also account for the teaching methodology of colleges. Some colleges offer one on one attention to students and demand they work on each chapter after a few lectures and discuss it with their tutors weekly or regularly.
Such colleges may work for students who like to be regularly taken care of. However, if a student prefers to attend large lectures, conduct their research, and prepare for exams on their own, these colleges that offer special attention to each student may not be the best fit for them.
Students should also look beyond academics while zeroing in on a college. Some of the main factors that should be studied are opportunities for internships, extra-curricular activities, the scope for exploring sports and the infrastructure to support it, and community involvement.
These days universities also look beyond students academic achievements while screening their applications. They look at their interests, how they perceive the world, why, and more.
A few colleges also expect essays about how students plan to explore different campus facilities.
Most importantly, how your budget accommodates the best fit is a significant factor to consider before sending out applications. Know the total cost of education over the usual academic costs.
Consider expenses related to accommodation, food, commute, outside campus activities, internship costs, etc. Parents should assess if their family can afford these fees and if they need a scholarship or loan to lighten the loan on their finances.