How do We Calculate College Match?

College Match is an easy way for students to begin discovering colleges that fit them best. To start, simply answer the questions presented to you upon registering on College Factual, or navigate to "Match Profile" to fill out sections you have not yet completed. The more questions you answer, the better the matches.

How do we choose matches?

We will match you to colleges based on the following factors: Your academic profile, your preferred majors, your preferred location and campus size, and your finances.

If indicated, we will also match on veteran fit and/or sports fit. 

The quality ranking of a school is also considered but is the last priority unless you have not filled out any of the questions.

Below we'll go into more detail on how we calculate fit percentage in each category.

Academic Fit

Academic fit looks at your grades (including test scores if you provide them) and uses that to estimate how likely you are to be an academic success at the college.

A perfect fit is a school where you are an above average applicant (thereby increasing odds of academic success) but not so far above average that the school would not be a challenge.   

If your scores fall below or above that percentile your academic fit will start to drop. 

Your chances of getting in is a different measure and is not part of the fit measure. Chances of getting in will continue to go up the higher your test scores.

Major Fit

Majors Fit score tells you how well that school fits you based on your saved majors. 

There are three components to major fit.

1. How well that school does in majors that are a higher preference for you (indicated by how many stars you've given the major.)

2. Your strengths match to your saved majors (if you have taken Majors Matcher).

3. If your majors are offered and how well the school ranks for your majors (schools that rank better typically have larger more popular programs and a greater abundance of strong related majors offered at the school).

Our "major fit" score will combine all of the majors you have saved to come up with your best score.

Learn more about our rankings by major here.

Location Fit

The closer the college is to your ideal location, the greater your location fit. You can also input preferences for the size and the setting of the campus (medium sized college in a small town setting for example).

If you have indicated a preference for online classes, we will instead score this factor based on the amount of students who take online classes rather than the physical location of the campus.

Financial Fit

Financial Fit is currently the fourth priority in calculating match unless the user indicates it is of greater importance to them, in which case it can be moved up in order of priority.

The less expensive a school is for you, the better. A school that offers you a financial aid package where you pay nothing out of pocket would be a perfect match. The more expensive the school becomes for you the lower your financial fit score.

If you provide your EFC we can give you a more accurate estimate of financial fit. Otherwise we will estimate it for you based on what information you have provided, including family income range, whether or not you qualify for in-state discounts, and test scores (higher test scores can result in greater amounts of financial aid at some schools).

Financial estimates are based on net price, not sticker price.

Veteran Fit

If you have indicated that you are a veteran we will also factor in our Best for Vets rankings to your college match score. Read more about those rankings here.

Sport Fit

If you have indicated a specific sport you are interested in playing, we will include the ranking for that sport in your college match score. Read more about our sports rankings here.

Quality Fit

The overall quality of a school as determined by our Best Overall Colleges ranking makes up a small part of your match score UNLESS you have not completed most of your profile, in which case the quality ranking will determine what appears in your matches. This is because we have no other data to work with to provide more customized matches.

Read more about our quality ranking methodology here.

If the student has indicated they are an adult student, we use our Best Colleges for Returning Adults ranking for this factor. Read more about that ranking here.