How to Find Colleges That Are An Academic Fit

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  • 0:03 Academics
  • 1:18 Things to Consider
  • 3:46 Finding a College
  • 4:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

A college's academics are, in large part, what defines it as a school. But how do you find a college that's a good academic fit? Watch this lesson to find out what elements go into a school's academics and how to find colleges that are right for you.


Owen is in high school. He knows that he wants to go to college, but he isn't sure which one he should apply to. He's done okay in high school so far, but he isn't at the top of his class, and his SAT scores aren't the best in the country.

There's something that Owen has noticed, though: he does really well in classes where there aren't a lot of students but not very well in large classes. He thinks it probably has to do with asking questions and getting attention from the teacher.

The things that Owen is struggling with are part of academics, or the scholastic part of school. You might be thinking, 'Wait. Isn't every part of school scholastic?' The truth is there are a lot of aspects to school: social, sports, clubs, music, organizations and many other things all go into school. But when people think about school, they typically think about academics.

So, Owen has a good idea of how he is when it comes to academics, but how can he use that information to find the right college for him? Let's take a closer look at the academic factors to consider when applying to schools and how to find schools that are a good match academically.

Things to Consider

As we said, there are many things that go into the academics of a college. Owen, and students like him, don't have to consider all aspects of a school's academics, but all applicants should consider at least some of the academics of a college.

1. Admissions statistics

Owen has done okay in high school, but he's not a stand-out student academically. By taking a look at a college's admissions statistics, like the average GPA or SAT scores of students who are accepted to the school, Owen can get an idea of how likely he is to be admitted. If his GPA and SAT score are much lower than the average of accepted students, he might be better off applying to another school.

2. Class sizes

Owen knows that he's a better student when he's in a small class than when he's in a large class. Knowing what the average class size is at a school can also help Owen understand what challenges he might face and his chances of success at that school. Many colleges provide a student to teacher ratio, so this information should be easy to find.

3. Programs available

Let's say that Owen wants to study engineering. He should make sure that the school he's applying to has an engineering program. Beyond his potential major, Owen should also look at other areas of interest for him: he might want to take classes in psychology, history or environmental science. If he has several areas of interest, finding a college that offers classes in many of those areas can give Owen a broader academic experience.

4. Research opportunities

Particularly in the sciences, research is an important part of learning. Not all schools offer research opportunities for undergraduate students, so Owen should see if there are research opportunities for students like him.

5. Professors

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