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The “Fit” Factor

How you see yourself thriving here.

Whats all the fuss about fit?

College admissions can be confusing. High school counselors and college admissions officers often talk about fit in the same sentence as college, but what does fit actually mean? Part of the challenge is that fit can look slightly different to each of us.

What does fit mean to you?

Take a couple of minutes and think about what it means for a school to be a fit for you. 

Do you define fit in terms of academic opportunities, campus community, or finances? All of the above? Maybe fit isn’t just a list of priorities but also a type of feeling, like having a pair of jeans that you could not live without, a friend who just “got you,” or a place where you felt like you belonged. 

What does fit mean to us?

We didn’t think it was fair to ask you to define fit without doing so ourselves. As we thought about fit, a few themes emerged:

  • Fit is not just about who you’ve been or who you are, but also who you will be and who you might become.
  • Fit is not about being perfect, but about how your strengths overlap with those of a college or university.
  • Fit is not static and can change as you develop. 

Most important, though, we agreed that fit isn’t something that you have (or don’t). Instead, fit is a story you tell us about how you see yourself thriving on campus.

Fit and Northwestern

We also came up with some questions that might help you think about fit and Northwestern. These questions mirror the kinds of thoughts that go through our heads when we read applications, but they’re not meant to be exhaustive. 

Academic growth and intellectual curiosity

  • What topics are you excited to explore? What kinds of questions drive you forward?
  • How have you shown initiative in learning more about the world around you?
  • How have you challenged yourself? Surprised yourself?

Involvement and community

  • What role(s) have you played in the communities  around you (e.g., family, school, religious, service organization)? What impact have you had ? How have these communities shaped you?
  • What types of involvement have been the most meaningful for you? Why?
  • How do you envision yourself plugging into, learning from, and contributing to Northwestern’s community? 

Personal characteristics

  • What are you proud of? What makes you awesome?
  • What kind of friends do you hope to make in college? What kind of friend would you be?
  • How do you overcome challenges or manage disagreements?
  • What gives you joy? 

Need ideas?

What better way to think about fit than to get some insight from current students about how they are making the most out of their Northwestern experience?

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Northwestern life in our students' words. Check out the Admission blog.