The Three Fs

It’s spring time in college admissions. That means recently admitted students are visiting campus to decided where their home will be for the next few years. I try to keep my conversations simple. By the time a student is in my office, the anxiety is gone, the research is over, and they are actually relaxed and enjoying being on campus knowing they’ve been admitted.

A few years back when students visited in the spring and wanted to know “Why USD?” I’d respond, It’s all about the “Three Fs.” I’d build it up like it was a magically set of three words that would change their lives, but really it’s just a few factors to consider.

The Three Fs are Fit, Finances, and Food.


Can you see yourself at the university? How excited are you to step foot on that campus?

What is the surrounding location like? Is it town-and-gown, urban-centered, or rural campus?

What is the campus climate like? When you walk on campus do you see students who look like you?

Have you interacted with the students on campus who will soon become your peers and classmates? How welcomed and included do you feel?

What is the learning environment like? Class sizes, interaction with professors, support services?

Will it help you achieve your educational and career goals?


Affordability is key. What is the cost of attending the university?

What type of aid is available? Merit, need-based, individual grants? Is the an opportunity to appeal for more?

Are there scholarships available as a continuing student?

Did a counselor explain your financial aid award? Do you understand the differences between scholarships, grants, and loans? And what you’ll need to pay back after you graduate?

Did you ask  how successful students are in finding internships, graduating in a timely manner, finding a jobs, or pursuing graduate school?


Most likely, you are going to be living on-campus and studying on campus for at least four years, so how’s the food?

What type of dining facilities do they have? How does the university’s meal plan work?

Is the cost of food similar on and off-campus? What affordable restaurants are near the school?


Okay, so it’s not just about the food, but what it is important for students to think of the distinctive factors that attract them ta a university. At the end of the day, you can choose a college to attend on a variety of reasons, but the 3Fs are just some factors to add to your decision-making process.


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