Finding The Right College in Four Steps

Mack Fisher

Self-help author Jeffery Selingo shared his observations about the college admissions process with Barons on February 13. Known for his New York Times bestseller A Year Inside College Admissions, Selingo detailed four crucial factors to consider when finding a college that fits your needs:


1. Attend a school where the academic rigor is challenging but not overwhelming.

2. Find a community you feel like you belong in and connect with teachers, mentors, and other students. To determine this, Selingo suggested that prospective students meet with professors during campus tours.

3. Ensure your college choices have hands-on learning opportunities, including internships, research opportunities, and study abroad programs.

4. Consider the financial cost of attending a particular school and whether it’s worth the investment, especially if there is a cheaper and better option.


Although many of his observations came from studying the admissions processes at Emory University, Davidson College, and the University of Washington, Selingo also referred to the college ranking system as a whole, expressing disappointment in how “toxic” it is.

According to Selingo, the ranking system is based on acceptance rates, and some colleges aren’t increasing the size of their incoming class, which forces them to reject more applicants and subsequently lowers their acceptance rates. It is flawed because the places that want to accept students fall down the list even if their academics are better than those above them.

Despite this dismal reality, Selingo encourages students to try those four steps and find the right college for them.