Finding College Fit

  • When searching for colleges, keep in mind the three kinds of fit:  Personal, Academic, and Financial. The steps outlined below will help you figure out what those factors are for you. Once you identify potential colleges, use our College Fit Worksheet (6.2022) to guide your research.   

    Personal Fit

    Every student look both inward and outward. Looking beyond surface characteristics will give a college search direction and result in better decisions. All of the resources linked in the section below are in the How to Create a Great College List handout by College Essay Guy/ Steve Antonoff/ Ted Fiske

    Academic Fit

    A school must be suited academically, and in most cases, that means numbers:  GPA and Test Scores. We encourage students to come up with schools that are likely and/or possible

    Financial Fit

    College is priced like airline tickets, where almost everyone pays a different price. The challenge is to get a reasonable estimate of your net price, which may be very different than the sticker price. Everyone should look for outside scholarships, but the biggest grants and scholarships will come through the schools themselves. Research, done well ahead of applications, may literally pay off.

    There are two main types of aid: need-based aid and merit aid. Figure out which you will qualify for and then figure out which schools are best to target for that kind of aid. All schools offer need-based aid, though some schools will cover much more need than others. Only some schools offer merit aid, and the criteria and amounts vary widely. 

  • Figure out Your Priorities

  • Know Yourself

  • Consider What You Want in College

  • Examine College Qualities

  • Explore College Lists (not the lists you think!)

  • Use Naviance for Shorewood Data

  • Use Comparison Tools for National Data

  • About our Unweighted GPAs

  • About Test Scores

  • Be Aware of Admission Rates

  • Know the Numbers Sweet Spot

  • If Your Numbers Don't Measure Up

  • Figure Out Your EFC

  • Use Net Price Calculators

  • Try a College Pricing Tool

  • Investigate Need-Based Aid

  • Investigate Merit-Based Aid

  • Consider Western Undergraduate Exchange

  • Check Graduation Rates

  • Check Average Indebtedness

  • Understand & Search for Scholarships

  • title image from Finding Fit presentation View the Finding College Fit presentation (pdf) from June 2020 that covers personal and academic fit.  

College Search Tools

Academic & Financial Fit Tools