4 Tips to Share with Students Looking for “The Right College Fit”

Last week, the National Honor Societies hosted its third college admission planning webinar of this academic year. The webinar focused on “The ‘Right’ College Fit” and was designed to help students choose a college that’s best for them, especially when selecting among several options due to multiple acceptances.

In addition to sharing the link to the archived webinar on the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society websites, school leaders are also encouraged to share these top four insights from the webinar panelists with their students, student program advisers, and counselors.

  1. Be genuine.

When it comes to the application essay, colleges and universities are “looking for student voice … and we want that voice to be genuine,” according to Yvonne Romero Da Silva, vice dean of admissions at the University of The Right College FitPennsylvania. Directing her message to student audience members, she added, “No one can express your passion and your interest as well as you can.”

And—as a note of caution to the helicopter parents flying around your building—Da Silva said, “I know the difference between an essay written by a 42-year-old mom and a 17-year-old student. The 17-year-old will make mistakes, and that’s OK.”

  1. Your major does not necessarily dictate your course for life.

“Speaking as a classical music major who is now an admissions director, I’m one of many examples out there that what you major in isn’t necessarily who you will be or have to be,” said Jim Rawlins, assistant vice president for enrollment management and director of admissions at the University of Oregon. He added that the classes students will take in a “major is often less than half of your bachelor’s degree.”

Da Silva noted, “About 75 percent of students change their majors at least once while they’re an undergraduate.”

  1. It’s OK to ask for help.

Some students may think, “Somebody’s going to think I’m not smart if I go to the writing lab.” But that’s not true according to Nancy Beane, president-elect of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. There are  mechanisms colleges and universities put in place, such as math labs and writing centers, that are designed to give students support toward success.

  1. Your college experience is your college experience.

Choosing the right college “is a very personal process and just because your best friends are going to this university or that doesn’t mean it is the best one for you. … It’s really about thriving. These are four years that you’re committing to yourself, to your advancement, to your growth. You should make it the best and most wonderful four years that you can,” said Da Silva.

For additional guidance, archives of all three college admission planning webinars from this academic year are available online for schools affiliated with the National Honor Society or National Junior Honor Society on their respective websites: www.nhs.us/webinar and www.njhs.us/webinar.

The webinar series will resume in the 2016-17 academic year and will again be available as a free and exclusive service to all members, their parents, and personnel of affiliated schools.

School leaders who wish to learn about affiliating with one of the National Honor Societies can visit the start-a-chapter section on the NHS and NJHS websites.

What advice do you share with your students when they struggle with a college enrollment decision? Tell us in the comments below!


  • This is some really good information about how to find a good college. I know that when I was looking for a college to go to it was difficult to know what school would fit well with me and how I learn. So, I like that you pointed out that it would be smart to ask for help if you aren’t sure where to go.

  • I love the insight you give about asking for help. Things like the writing lab or the math lab or the science lab are there to help you succeed, and that’s why you’re going to college anyway, right? Additionally, though, I think that it’s important to look at these types of things when you’re looking for the right university anyway. When they have quality resources available to you, then you’ll have everything you need to do well and succeed. Thank you for sharing!

  • I had no idea that it was possible to find a career that wasn’t associated with your major. It’s good to know that if I decide to change careers after I get a degree it’s still possible. It would be helpful if the school offered classes that showed the career possibilities for that major.

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