Many people ask me what is a “GRAND” fit, and why does it matter? GRAND fit started out as a play on word with my last name (Grandits) but evolved into so much more. The field of college admissions has been placing emphasis on “fit”- specifically academically- then socially, and finally financially. Finding your fit is a personalized approach to discovering the right school(s) for your student, not based on rankings, prestige, or what your neighbors think, but on factors that truly matter to your family. To do this, you must consider who your child is as a student (academics) and a person (social) and what is right for your family (financial).
Here at GRAND Fit, we take this a step further, and we believe there are five essential factors to fit.
Geography goes beyond the location and weather. While the distance from home, size, and setting are all important characteristics, you should also think about the campus culture you want to call home for the next four years. It’s important to start this search open-minded and outside of the context of cost. That will come later.
Questions to consider:
1) How far away do you want to be from home? 2) What do you want the surrounding area to be like? 3) How big of a campus do you want (both physically and population)? 4) What kind of student body would you like to have (demographics, liberal, conservative, religious, etc)? 5) Are there people like me at this school?
Rigor not only looks at the difficulty of admissions but also the learning environment once a student is at the college. Many times, students focus on the mid-50% of admission criteria to see if they can get in, not if the teaching style of the college matches their own learning style. The goal here should be not to go to the hardest school you can get into, but attend the school you can be the most successful. Most likely, you will look for a school where you can be a “big fish in a small pond.”
Questions to consider: 1) How do you learn best and what kind of learning environment will you be the most successful? 2) What kind of relationship do I hope to have with a professor? 3) What is the core curriculum like? 4) What would my major look like at this school? If I’m undecided, what resources does the school have to help me decide? 5) Can I do research easily here as an undergrad?
Most likely you have been involved in some sort of extracurricular activity throughout high school, so it is important to consider how you can be involved in college. Sports, drama, and Greek life are just some activities available on campus.
Questions to consider: 1) Do they have the activities you are most interested in? 2) What is Greek Life like on campus, and is it possible to be involved in campus life without going Greek? 3) Are there any additional fees for attending games or performances? 4) What do students do on the weekend? Do most students leave campus? 5) In what ways do students connect with the community (volunteer work/internships/off-campus jobs)?
This factor is almost impossible to identify on paper. Does the campus feel like home? The best way to know if a school is a “natural” fit is to visit, on a weekday when school is in session. Obviously, this is not possible in the current climate, so you may have settle for #virtualtours and student reviews, but #Juniors should be able to visit schools in the fall. Let us know how we can help!
Questions to consider: 1) What type of person would be successful on this campus? 2) What are the residence halls like? 3) How safe does the campus feel? 4) Are there any things you’d like to change about the school? 5) What three words would you use to describe the “typical” student?
Typically this is the most important factor, especially for parents. Parents, you need to communicate your ability/willingness to pay for college BEFORE your student begins their college search. We know these are not easy conversations to have, but it’s better to set boundaries at the beginning of the process than having to tell your student “no” after getting into their “dream school.” Determine a budget, find out your family's Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and look at the Net Price Calculator (NPC) for any school your student is seriously considering. The sticker price is not usually the cost your family will pay.
Questions to consider: 1) What is the net price of this college? 2) What types of financial aid are available? 3) Do merit scholarships exist? If so, what percentage of students receive them, and what are the requirements? 4) What is the 4-year and 6-year graduation rate? Retention rate? 5) What are some recent companies that hired graduates in the field of _____?