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The Big 6: College Experiences that Shape Fulfilling Futures

Updated: Mar 13, 2023




The key to a transformative educational experience in college is *engagement*. When researching colleges, it's tempting to hang your vision of "fit" on elements that are flashy, nice to look at, or convey a feeling of prestige, but these rarely correspond to a quality education. Even location might not matter as much as we sometimes assume. A sense of belonging and support absolutely matters. Along with that, the six factors identified here have been proven through research to be the difference-makers in an education that launches you confidently, and sustains your continued personal and professional growth. These "Big Six" elements are great lightposts to guide your questions and research as you learn about and visit colleges! In what ways will a given college make these experiences accessible to you, starting in the first year? You might be surprised to find that some of the places that are most generous in their cultivation of the Big Six may not be large or urban, as conventional wisdom might suggest. Read the @challengesuccess white paper "A Fit Over Rankings" at my collection of article links. You can also find a link there to a talk by their co-founder, Stanford professor Denise Pope.

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