Find Your Perfect College Match.



Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Finding the right college isn’t always love at first sight. What appears devastatingly gorgeous in photos, may clash with your student’s personality in real life. Different angles to consider are academics, social life, and career goals. 

1. Academics

If a college doesn’t offer the major, classes, and related opportunities that interest your student, it’s not going to be the right school. No amount of ivy can conceal the fact that if a student isn’t interested and engaged in the options offered, they won’t be happy.  Different colleges also offer different types of learning environments and encourage different ways of learning.  For example, introductory classes at a large college may contain hundreds of students. Some students find this environment exciting. Others feel overwhelmed.

Some questions to consider:

  • Does the school offer your student’s choice of major?  Or, if your student is undecided, does the school offer a wide enough variety of majors to choose from?
  • How strong are the programs and professors in the various fields your student is considering?
  • Would your student thrive in small classes with lively discussions or large informative lectures?
  • Are the classes taught by professors or teaching assistants?
  • Is your student interested in research and-or getting hands-on experience and practice?
  • Does your student prefer to work independently or in groups?
  • Does the school have the research facilities your student wants?  Are they state-of-the-art? 

2. Campus Culture

Just like people, each school has a unique personality of its own.  Some have robust school spirit while others are quieter and contemplative. Each factor will have its pros and cons.  Big Ten universities tend to elevate athletics and sporting events. The Ivies spotlight academic stars. At other schools, the theatre department gets the applause.  Some students prefer a small school where everyone knows each other. Others prefer a big campus where there are always opportunities to meet someone new. Winnow down the choices for a great college match by considering the size of the student body and the geographical location.  Then move on to the less visible aspects, including interests of the student body, religion, and politics.  Life on campus is also important, including dorms, food, and campus recreational facilities. To learn more, we recommend that you and your student visit campuses and talk to current students.

Some questions to consider:

  • Big school or a small one?
  • Suburban or rural campus school or an urban school?
  • How far away does your student want to be from home?
  • Does the school spirit match your student’s?
  • Are there enough clubs or other extracurricular activities that align with your student’s interests?
  • Is Greek life a central part of the campus culture?
  • What types of campus-based religious activities and places of worship are available?
  • Are there students like yours on campus or will your student feel different from their peers?  Consider your student’s background, values, and interests, and whether there will be other students who are of a particular nationality, LGBTQ, first-gen, environmentally conscious, community-minded, artistic, and more.

3. Career Advancement

A perfect love supports your efforts, believes in you, and (gently) pushes you to succeed. Like a summer fling, a student’s time in college won’t last forever.  A school needs to prepare your student for life beyond college — the professional world.

Some questions to consider:

  • Does the school offer career development workshops with practice job interviews, for example?
  • Does the alumni group offer sufficient networking events?
  • Does the school help students secure internships, mentorships and even entry-level jobs in your student’s field of interest?
  • Are career coaching opportunities and personal evaluations offered?
  • How is the college’s track record when it comes to job placement in your student’s considered career?

Importantly, consider your options and be open to possibilities. A school that’s the right fit for one student may be the wrong fit for another.  Assessing your student’s chances of admission can be a good way to identify a strong match, socially and academically. Also, we strongly recommend that you visit different schools, even if your student doesn’t plan to attend them. By doing this, you can get a good idea of what different campuses are like.  With schools of interest, check out course and program descriptions, reviews of professors, and sit in on some classes, if you visit the campus. As you learn more about schools, keep a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each one.  This will help narrow down the choices when it comes time to start the applications.

A matchmaker can help you find your perfect match. Get help from a college advisor who gets to know your student well and has only your student’s best interests in mind, contact International College Counselors at http://www.internationalcollegecounselors.comor 954 414-9986.