How Do You Know If a College Is a Good “Fit”?

This week’s episode of College for Christians is probably my favorite that Sam Mulberry and I have recorded so far — mostly because it feels less like me giving a lecture on educational history and more like two people who work in higher ed trying to make sense of a word that is both ubiquitous and nebulous in college admissions: “fit.”

Next to cost and value (next week’s theme), fit is the most commonly cited reason for a student choosing a college or rejecting it in favor of another option. Yet fit is very hard to figure out, and may come clearer after you’ve made a decision. (Just this morning I saw a friend share on social media that her child was transferring because her college turned out “not to be a good fit.”) So we talk about the factors that seem to shape fit, how colleges try to convey it to prospective students, and how you can start to discern fit during the admissions process.

Public domain image from Piqsels

We even consider the counter-argument that you shouldn’t place too much emphasis on fit. After all, higher education is effective in part because it’s discomfiting, even disruptive, so you shouldn’t necessarily seek an experience that aligns with your pre-existing preferences.

Even if that’s going too far, it’s surely true that fit, like so much else that goes into choosing a college, is a dynamic concept. If higher education is a transformative experience at a transitional time in one’s personal development, then you should expect to change… and feel differently about your circumstances and context as you do.

So I’ll give the final word to Sam, his recurring mantra so far on this podcast: whether it fits or not, “college is what you make of it.”

As always, you can download or stream episodes of College for Christians — or subscribe to the whole series — at Podbean, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify, among other providers.