Finding Your Fit – GradPlan

The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is now open. Learn more here.


Finding Your Fit

A guide to help figure out the best program for you right now.

Everyone’s path is different, so finding the right one for you is important for your success. Take your time, ask questions, talk to people you trust, and think deeply about what you want to do. Ultimately, you are responsible for your future.

When considering your options for life after high school these four factors can help you determine if a program or school is a good fit for you

Personal Fit

Financial Fit

Academic Match

Completion Supports

Personal Fit answers the question “Will I like it here?”

Your values, interests, and professional goals can help you determine which aspects of college are most important to you.

To better understand if an option is a good personal fit, ask yourself

  • How easily will I be able to get to campus?
  • Is this option too close to home, too far or just right?
  • Does the schedule fit my needs?
  • Do they have subjects or majors I want to study?
  • Do I feel a sense of community?
  • Does it feel too big, too small or just right?
  • Do the students here look like me?
  • Are there extracurricular activities I am interested in?

Tip: When it comes to personal fit some of these factors may be more important to you than others. Pay close attention to those that matter to you most and weigh those more heavily in your decision making process.

Financial Fit answers the question “Can I afford it?”

Financial Fit is more than just the price of a school on their website because that price doesn’t take into account financial aid. So, don’t be afraid to consider “expensive schools” while you’re still exploring. To better understand how much a school might ultimately cost for you, use a net price calculator.

When considering affordability, there are multiple costs to consider

  • Tuition & Fees (the cost of your classes, and student fees)
  • Text Books and Supplies
  • Transportation & Parking
  • Life Expenses (Food, Housing, Entertainment)

Tip: Many financial aid advisors recommend keeping the total amount of college costs (tuition, fees, transportation, etc.) that you are responsible for – after financial aid is applied – to under $5,000 per year.

Academic Match answers the question “Does my past academic performance fit with the level of coursework expected?”

Both College, and professional job training programs will expect you to be ready to perform at a level of academic readiness equal to the rigor of their classes. Your high school GPA and test scores are usually used as an indicator of your preparedness.

Determine if a school is a good academic match by asking

  • Is my GPA and SAT score similar to that of most admitted students?
  • If my GPA is lower than most admitted students, am I willing to be challenged academically?
  • If my GPA is higher than most admitted students, what opportunities are there to be challenged academically?

Completion Support answers the question “Will I have the support I need to succeed?”

Completion means graduation. You want to be a part of a college or program that has a good record of supporting students to achieve completion, in particular, students who look like you and who come from a similar background.

As you start to look into specific pathways and programs, consider

  • Are there support programs on campus that match my identities?
  • Are there tutoring and support services available? Can I easily access these?
  • How accessible are campus advisors and mentors?

When you’re selecting a school or program after high school, it’s important to take time to think about what you want. Review your options and consider the above questions to help you make a decision you feel confident you will succeed in.

Recommended Resources


Explore Your Options
Set My Vision

"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."

Malcolm X, human rights activist