Fit. What is it? College admissions counselors often talk about seeking students that are the right fit for the school as they evaluate applications. For students applying to college, fit is extremely important, too! When coming up with the list of schools you want to apply to, fit should be your number one priority. For example, a school may be very well known in your country, highly ranked or be your entire family's alma mater, but it might not necessarily be the right fit for you. The most common way to evaluate or determine fit is to visit schools and talk to current students about their academic and social experiences, but this isn't always possible for every student. Finding fit is especially hard when you live overseas because the options seem endless and overwhelming. From one international student (turned admissions officer) to another, I hope to guide you through the process of finding the right schools for you. In this multi-part blog series, I will be breaking down what "fit" is and ways to consider fit when you are applying to college. Of course, a proud Tufts alum, I will also be talking about Tufts and how we aligns with these fit categories.
Let's start with location and size.
The first big-picture thing to consider when you are applying for college is WHERE you want to go to school. Most domestic US students are thinking and looking at US colleges, but if you live outside of the US you may be looking at other options like the UK, Australia, Canada and your own home country. Here are some questions to help you break down location:
Size is another major characteristic that can help you eliminate some options. Can you picture yourself in a large university with thousands of students (think: big public universities) or do you see yourself in a more intimate environment? A larger school might have more major choices, more people to meet (think: more people in less popular majors), and possibly a wider range of extracurricular activities and sports. A smaller school might provide a more community based environment where it is easy to get to know everyone, where class sizes are generally smaller, where your professors have fewer students and often closer relationships. It all depends on your personality, your learning style and the kind of social college experience you want.
Tufts is a medium-sized school with about 5,500 undergraduate students, an average class size of 20 students and a 9:1 student to faculty ratio. Those are the stats, but when thinking about fit, you should really be thinking beyond the numbers and about community and relationships. At Tufts, we don't pride ourselves on our small class size and low ratio but instead on our close knit, welcoming, collaborative community where professors know their students well (you can even take them out to coffee for free!). It’s a place where you get a small school experience in a larger community. Our size allows for close relations with peers and faculty but it still allows you to meet new people throughout your four years. Again, best of both worlds…am I right? :D
Now that we have broken down the macro picture of finding fit, our next blog will explore the different types of schools in the US. We'll look at the difference between liberal arts colleges, research universities and the different academic curricula out there! Stay tuned :)