How to Pick the Right College...
When looking for the "right college" I ask students to use a chart that I provide for them which they fill in for each of the schools they are interested in. The chart reflects the name of the school, the average GPA of those admitted &, average SAT/ACT scores. Once armed with this information along with a copy of their transcript reflecting their own GPA and rank, they are able to see if their qualifications match what each school is looking for. I then ask students to select schools which, they are sure they would be accepted to (safety schools), have a 50/50 chance of getting into (reasonable schools) and finally, those which are above their qualifications (reach schools). In the end, students do well with a final list of 6 to 8 schools to which they apply.
There needs to be more to the picture though, aside from academic and testing qualifications. A student may seem like a great match on paper but, just because they are likely to be admitted does not mean they will be happy. It is the comfort factor, that can really determine if a school is right or not. Students need to walk a campus, see the students up close, picture themselves in the dorms, be comfortable in using the health care facilities, library, etc. Keep in mind, students will be taking part in academic study this is true yet they have social activities which will engage them as well as day to day living. They need to be completely at home on campus in order for the school to the "right college." Life experiences such as illness, romance, career options will all be a part of their time while in college. When trying to determine which school is "right," be sure to factor in comfort along with quality of the education offered as it is both which, will provide the best possible experience overall.