Episode Three of the Podcast 'The Search': Does It Fit?

Vice Provost for Enrollment Lee Coffin talks about narrowing down one's college choices.

Finding the right college is, at its best, an act of matchmaking. In this episode of "The Search," Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid, learns how three very different applicants narrowed down their college choices.

Each started with a list of more than 20 possible schools. Two out of three could not visit campuses yet found many other ways—including social media—to figure out which ones were right for them. Their priorities shifted as they learned more, not only about colleges within their reach, but also about themselves.

"Applying to college really has to be all about you," says Ramsey Ash, who lives in West Virginia. "It's one of those times in your life where you can unapologetically just take control of it and apply to what you want. You have one of the biggest decisions ahead, and it's solely based on you."

While all three applicants were mindful of the relative cost of the colleges that attracted them, none of them let the price of admission, or a low acceptance rate, take selective schools off the table. 

"There are lots of numbers swirling around, like the acceptance rate and the number of students who accept the offer, and all that gets reported widely in the media," says Coffin. "But as an admission officer, I would say that the most important data point is something you can't measure, and that is your own determination of fit. When you discover a school and say, with total confidence, 'I see myself here.'"

"The Search" is now available on SoundCloud and the Department of Admissions website, and will also be available on Spotify, Apple Music, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, RadioPublic, iHeart Radio, and Google Podcast.