It's not about finding "the" right fit college, but rather "a" right fit college.

Beth E. Morgan
July 07, 2022

It’s the time of year when many prospective transfer students, including veterans, start thinking about applying to a 4-year college or university with only one specific college or university in mind.

Such a focused approach may feel sensible. After all, why bother applying if you don't have one in mind already? While it might seem like such a plan will save you a lot of time, this type of approach offers a narrow start to your college experience. Think for a moment from where and how the preconceived notion of a single school may have come into view. Was it, for example, based on a review of college rankings, word-of-mouth, or even the strength of a college's athletic program? It's rarely based on self-reflection, i.e. your learning needs, professional goals, and lifestyle. These factors should be at the center of your college research process. Remember, it is not about finding “the” right fit college, but rather “a” right fit college. 

You should broaden your potential pool of choices while remaining true to the elements most important to you and your future college experience. Even if you already have a top-choice school, going through the college research process may help you find one or two gems out there you haven't yet considered. In addition to discovering other possible colleges or universities, the college research process might reveal some interesting and unexpected perspectives, things like: exploring the possibility to apply to a more highly selective institution if you take a little extra time to go to a community college first; or, looking at liberal arts colleges, which tend to have smaller class sizes, and might be a better fit in terms of who you are and how you like to learn. Going through this process, you may even discover a technical college makes more sense for you, or a more rural setting better serves your needs and those of your family.

Consider two important questions to start your search: one, where are you now; and two, where do you want to go? Also, consider if higher education is truly the best pathway to accomplish your goals?  You should evaluate your academic readiness by taking a good look at any and all of your previous transcripts and determine if you are overreaching in your choices or perhaps, as we see over and over again from veterans, selling yourself short.  You should not under-estimate the impact of years of discipline in the military upon your academic potential.  You are not the same person:  you have a brand new toolkit.

These questions and an initial transcript evaluation are just the beginning of the process to choosing a right fit college. 

Learn more about things to consider like accreditation, college admission criteria, creating a checklist of questions to ask, and building a college list by signing up for CVTI’s Attaining Higher Education course.

Attaining Higher Education

Attaining Higher Education on edX

Prepare to transition to college using intentional decision-making. Aimed at active duty service members and veterans, with this course you will learn about the college admission process, including financial aid, to help you choose a right-fit college.

Join AHE on edX