The“Best Fit”College

June 27, 2016

The vast majority of high school graduates excitedly look forward to pursuing a higher education in a college or university. However, most graduates would agree that the process leading up to college admissions and finding their “best-fit” school is no easy task. Extensive time and arduous effort are spent in preparing for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, and Advanced Placement tests. Achieving higher scores on these exams are believed to lead to prestigious schools, and therefore, a successful life. This theory is more of a widely accepted stereotype, than an accurate representation of success.

Today, students are primarily motivated to participate in activities by the desire to build up a college resume, and consider social status over personal interests when applying to colleges. Janine Sun, a brilliant student from Palos Verdes High School in Southern California, shared her experience in finding her “best fit” college and the crucial considerations one must take when choosing an institution of higher education. Janine admits that Johns Hopkins was her “ultimate choice” along with Harvard and other highly selective schools.

Determined to fulfill this dream, she earned a GPA of 5.0 and a perfect SAT score of 2400. However, during the application process, Janine was faced with the difficult decision of determining which school would truly allow her to flourish. Janine defined success as, “being happy” and decided to make her college selection based on everything from food to the social environment. Upon visiting her first choice schools, Janine was drawn to schools with a “sense of community”, a friendly environment with kind and outgoing personalities. She finally settled on Dartmouth, a school with “a type of attitude” that was unique and appealing to her interests. Janine is much more than a perfect GPA and SAT score. Her passion for leadership and the determination to improve the world with her gifts are attributes that separate her from other students and make Dartmouth her personal match. She notes that “fit is different for everyone” but there are key questions to ask that are “fairly universal”. These include asking yourself, “Does it make you happy when you’re there?” and “Will you regret…choosing a different college?” The existing plethora of options allows students to find their match based on interests, goals, and values. Taking these components into consideration will lead to the “best-fit college”, an environment crucial to promoting life-long success.


Miranda Kim
Palos Verdes High School 12th Grade