• **Finding the Best Fit College**

    We want all students to find a campus community where they feel comfortable.  Consider your best fit (1) academically, (2) socially, and (3) financially.

    Academic Fit

    • Things to consider: class sizes, strength of major/program you are pursuing, research/internship opportunities available, is the rigor too competitive or not challenging enough, are the tutoring/learning resources you will need available
    • In what type of environment do you learn best?  How do you advocate for yourself as a learner?  Do you prefer to blend into the crowd, or be noticed by your teachers/peers?
    • Take a look at the profile of their most recently admitted class to see what the average GPA and or test score profile looks like compared to your academic profile.  What is the admit rate - are the odds with or against you?
    • Naviance offers Scattegrams for you to see the profile (GPA/Test Score) of Parkway Central students who have applied to each institution and whether they were admitted or denied.  This is a way to see if you might be a competitive applicant!
    • Use sites like CollegeSimply to see how you compare, and what your chances of admission might be.
    • To explore what learning supports/academic adjustments might be available, search for "Access office" or "Disability office" on the campus website.  You will typically work with an advisor to review your high school IEP/504 Plan to determine what supports would be most appropriate on their campus.  A great resource for families is NCCSD, which is the National Center for College Students with Disabilities.  ThinkCollege is a resource to find post-secondary options for students with intellectual disabilities.

    Social Fit

    Aside from academics, what else do you need to ensure you are also happy and engaged at your campus?  Things to consider: distance from home, culture and demographics of the campus and surrounding community, availability to continue your extracurricular interests/passions. "Are your people there?" Here are links to several resources which provide connections to communities which might be important for you:

    Financial Fit

    Do you have a budget for college?  How much can realistically be contributed “out-of-pocket”?  Are you willing to take out loans and incur debt for your undergrad?

    • Each campus is mandated to have a "Net Price Calculator" on their website - use that to gauge a potential cost of attendance at each institution.
    • The FAFSA is an application used to determine what your household is able to pay for college the following year.  The first time you fill this out is October of senior year.  Prior to that, you can use the FAFSA Estimator tool to get an idea of what your expected family contribution would be.
    • Some colleges also use the CSS Profile if they have institutional grants to distribute to students.  Check to see if any of the colleges you are applying to will require this.
    • Search for scholarships!
      • The majority of scholarships each year are typically awarded by individual colleges, so be sure to watch for priority deadlines to receive full consideration.  In addition, the other top 3 places we encourage students to search are:
        1. Naviance (Colleges – Scholarship Search) - these are ALL of the scholarships we have been asked to advertise to students!
        2. My Scholarship Central - this is a database of scholarships specifically for St. Louis area students.  The scholarships open at various times throughout the year, so if they are listed as "Ended" check back.
        3. Going Merry - database that will match you with scholarships.
      • Families often ask about states that give reciprocity (in-state tuition to out-of-state students). 
        • Midwest Student Exchange Program - this site provides you with schools that automatically give reduced tuition for non-residents (choose Missouri as your home state and then search for options)
        • Colleges offering Automatic Non-Resident Scholarships - this list provides some popular examples of larger out-of-state public schools that offer non-resident scholarships.  *Remember that you are starting with nonresident tuition rates, which are often double the rates for in-state students.

    Some other great resources to check out: