By John Wasik APR 29, 2016 @ 07:32 AM

It’s getting down to the wire for families with college offers on the table. They soon must pull the trigger on the college of their choice and it’s never easy.

I’d like to offer a bit of a formula to help ease the anxiety of this big decision. It’s call Best Fit/Value (BFV). It’s not really a math formula because the qualitative and quantitative parts are simple.

What’s the best possible college environment for the best value? On the value side of the equation, it’s all about debt. Which colleges get you into the least amount of debt? They must offer tuition discounts, grants and scholarships.

The “fit” part is a little more complex. I would ignore things like athletic programs, rec centers and dining halls. While those things look and feel good to parents and students, they aren’t part of the academic mission.

What’s a good fit? You could start with the best program for your academic interests. Does the college have the kind of department that will support four years of engaged inquiry? Will you have access to professors, not just graduate students? What kind of tutoring is available, if needed?

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