College Match & Fit Framework

College acceptance and enrollment are important, but college completion is the goal!  Students are more likely to graduate if the college they choose to attend fits their social, academic, and financial needs. The HPS College Match & Fit framework is designed to ensure that all students are provided with resources and guidance to help them make informed post secondary choices in their college planning, application, and enrollment.

What is Match and Fit?



  • Match, most broadly, refers to the degree that a student meets a college’s needs or prerequisites. Often, it explicitly refers to institutional selectivity/entrance requirements and students’ academic ability.
  • Fit is the degree to which a college meets a student’s academic, social, financial, and other needs and interests. Fit may be based on a variety of these factors, including location, academic programs, class sizes, graduation and employment rate and support services. Students will encounter a variety of options that meet their needs.

Why are Match & Fit Important?



  • Students who are academically matched to a college are more likely to complete a postsecondary program.
  • A good college fit leads to high satisfaction which increases a student’s likelihood to persist and graduate.
  • College & career counselors can shift students’ trajectories to help them make better college choices that are both match and fit to their academic, social, and financial needs. 

Types of College Match


Student enrolls at a college or university whose selectivity level matches his or her academic credentials.

Undermatch Overmatch
Student’s academic credentials are higher than the average student’s academic profile and institutional standards.  Student’s academic credentials are lower than the average student’s academic profile and institutional standards
Why? – Perception that college is too expensive; lack of financial resources; lack of college

knowledge; low expectations; lack of advising/guidance; minimal college recruiting/visits.

Why? – Inaccurate representation of a student’s academic potential (inflated GPA, insufficient academic content knowledge)
Application: A student did not apply to a match or more selective schools (affordability concerns, self-doubt; lack of knowledge).

Admittance: A student applied but was not admitted to a match or more selective school.

Enrollment: A student was admitted but chose not to attend a match or more selective school. 

Application: A student applied to very selective colleges based on the given academic credentials that might not truly represent his/her potential.

Admittance: A student overmatches because colleges admitted him/her based on the provided academic credentials (HS transcript)

Enrollment: A student enrolls into a selective college that he/she is not academically ready for.  


College Match & Fit Timeline