#056 Finding College Campuses that Fit Your Teen

Show Notes


Your teen will go to college to both live and learn, so it’s important to find a campus that is a good social fit along with academic programs and financial aid offerings to match your student. How do you tell which colleges might be a good match for your high school student? In this episode, Anita Gajula, an independent college counselor, and I give you insights into finding the best home away from home for your child. 


When your teen starts window shopping for colleges, it can be tempting to hold out for the perfect match. However, I firmly believe and teach that there are no soulmate colleges. So while the “perfect” school may not exist, there are likely many places where your child can thrive if given they give it a chance.

Anita Gajula and I arm your family with ways to start your search in this episode. Since your teen has never attended a university before, we provide guidance on how you can use their high school experience to frame their search. Asking the right questions is key to determining if a college is a good option. 

Anita also shares additional strategies to guide your search like how to people-watch on campus and we list our favorite apps and platforms you can use to weed out colleges that are poor matches, along with choosing which schools to invest in a visit.

Your family will be wise to also remember that college, like many other things in life, will be what you make of it. Sometimes the right mindset can matter more than the right school. That’s why, to avoid disappointment, starting your college search knowing every school will have its quirks and drawbacks will serve your family well.  Remember not to let perfect become the enemy of good!


  • Tips for finding what feels like your student’s home away from home
  • How to start by looking backward
  • Useful websites for finding schools that fit
  • Assessing how much social fit matters for your teen
  • Helping your teen articulate what they want in a college

Meet Our Guest

Anita Gajula has spent her entire career in service of students—as a student affairs professional at Macalester, as an academic advisor at U Chicago, as a College Admissions Advisor both in her own practice and in other firms, and now as a Collegewise counselor. She’s helped hundreds of students through the college admissions process, whether it be through test prep, college application management, or essay support.

Anita earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Williams College and went on to earn her master’s in student affairs and academic support at the University of Michigan. She now resides in Chicago with her family. Anita has a knack for building relationships quickly and making seemingly unrelated connections between people and ideas, which comes in quite handy when she’s helping students identify and apply to their best-fit schools.

Listen on…the Flourish Site, Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or your favorite platform. 

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Links mentioned in this episode

Launch College & Career Clarity Course

Episode #031 Your College List: Social Fit

CollegeWise Website

College Search Sites:



Campus Reel

College Scoops


[00:17] Introduction

[01:57] A campus should be your child’s home away from home

[02:49] Don’t expect perfection or a soulmate match

[04:53] Start considering colleges through the lens of the high school experience

[07:33] Start window shopping at local college campuses

[12:27] Resources for finding potential college matches

[14:31] Follow college social media accounts

[17:29] How much does social fit matter?

[21:22] Sign-off

Access the episode transcript here.