I know it’s a little late for New Year’s resolutions- but I vow to never use the term “perfect fit” again, unless I am talking about a great pair of jeans. For the past decade or more I’ve seen books, articles, surveys and online programs promising to help students find their “perfect fit” college. In reality, is there such a thing? Are we setting students up for disappointment, leading them to believe that there is one dream school that will meet all of their expectations, desires, and dreams?

For many students, the choice of college is governed by a few fixed key factors. Admissibility, family situations, and economic realities often trump the desire for suite style dorms, a flexible meal plan, and a rock climbing wall on campus. We are not travel agents helping clients book a once in a lifetime vacation but rather counselors guiding students as they make important decisions about their futures. Helping them focus in on what is truly important is part of the job as is helping them realize that they have the power and ability to thrive and be successful at not just one but at many campuses.

By Shan Schumacher