Right Fit College Decision College Admissions Counseling--Pacific Palisades, CA 

Karen Scott Goldberg



“Right Fit” ACADEMIC

The college process does not have to be stressful once students and their families change their focus from “the best college” to “the best fit” college.  Rather than “getting in,” the focus is on “fitting in.”  Students are encouraged to think about themselves as potential college students.  They consider the qualities that make a college right for them.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself:

  •  How much academic challenge is right for me?
  •  Do you want a college where you will work hard and study hard?
  •  Do you want a college where you can earn respectable grades and not work  so hard?
  •  Do you like talking about intellectual subjects and ideas?
  •  Do you prioritize well?
  •  Are you self-motivated and self-disciplined?
  •  Are you more inclined to handle a normal academic pressures or a vigorous  academic environment?
  •  Do you have a specific area of potential study?
  •  Would independent study or internships enhance your academic  experience?
  •  Would you like to study abroad?
  •  Will you require programs that support learning style differences?

At Right Fit, we begin our college planning process with psychology-based assessments that match a student’s personality and learning style to appropriate college choices.  Students define the academic factors that are most important—class size, accessibility to professors, opportunities for research, flexible curriculum—to name a few.  Students may discover several schools that “fit” academically…we make sure not to forget the SOCIAL and FINANCIAL “fit” as well.

“Right Fit” SOCIAL

Feeling like you “fit” in at college is important to most college students.  Adjusting to college and feeling like you belong is a challenge many college freshman face.   Each college has its own culture.  Some smaller schools offer a more intimate, perhaps intellectual environment.  Compare that to renowned party schools with large student populations. 

Students may want to attend colleges that have athletic or other programs that contribute to school spirit.  Greek systems are important for students looking for the camaraderie found in sororities or fraternities. Other interest groups such as professional organizations or technical associations are readily available on the majority of campuses.  Finding your “tribe” is a satisfying.  This peer component of education is important and should not be overlooked.  The better the Social “fit,” the more likely the student will have academic success.

 Some Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Do you want people on campus to share your beliefs and interests?
  • Does the school’s culture support the kind of college life you want for the next 4 years?
  • Do you find competition healthy or negative?
  • Are there clubs, academic organizations, or community groups you want to join?
  • Do you want to feel like you belong to a community?
  • How small (or large) of a student body do you want to be part of?
  • What do you like to do for fun on your weekends?
  • How many roommates would you be comfortable living with?

Don’t overlook the importance of feeling comfortable in college.  Finding the school that is “right” for you is one that is going to best prepare you for a rewarding life and successful career when your college years are over.


The escalating cost of college has moved the component of “Financial Fit” to the beginning of the college planning process.  For many students and their families, the ability to afford the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is an important factor in college planning.  Understanding the different types of aid available is the first step.

Need-Based Aid:  

provided to students based upon the student’s family and its capacity to pay as determined by income and assets.  There are three distinct formulas used to determine eligibility for need-based financial aid.

Merit Aid:  

awarded to students for a special skill, accomplishment or talent that the student possesses.  This type of aid is generally given to students independent of their family’s ability to pay for college.

Discounted Tuition:  

granted by colleges and universities across the country.  Schools, in their desire to fill unclaimed seats, sometimes will provide discounts on the tuition as a inducement to get students to enroll.

“Negotiated Aid:  

comes to families as a result of careful appeal to the financial aid officer in an effort to increase the financial aid package awarded to a student.  Often the families with special circumstances experience the most success in this area.


Like the rest of the college planning process, the component of “Financial Fit” is best addressed as early as possible.  Developing a parallel plan to financing a college education is as important as the college selection process itself.  Helping families finance their children’s college education is one of our goals.