College Counseling Philosophy

It is our belief that while a McQuaid Jesuit education may assist with the college admission process, the real value of a McQuaid Jesuit diploma rests with our young men’s ability to excel in his academic and social endeavors while in college by making well thought out decisions. The first of those decisions is which college is the best fit for him as an individual. We challenge our young men to make the most informed decisions possible in relation to their college search, emphasizing the concept of “Fit” over prestige, rankings, peer pressure, or name recognition. Just because a student may be able to gain entry to a top name college does not necessarily mean that college is a good fit for him. Likewise, just because a family member or close friend attended a particular university in the past, the same experience may or may not be right for our student.


The concept of the right Fit in the college search can be a complex equation. Initially, most of our young men have only the basics of an idea of what they may be looking for in a college. Their worldview is heavily influenced by the media concentration on top name or top ranked colleges, rather than an examination of what is actually right for them as an individual.

We believe a good Fit college is one that possesses all the core factors, both tangible and intangible, that only a deep discernment of self can reveal. Self-awareness coupled with an informed, methodical research process should yield a list of colleges where each of our Knights will be both happy and successful. It should also result in a definition of Fit that is unique to each student.

College Admissions Selectivity

Fit also refers to admissions selectivity and the ability to gain admission to a college. Not every student, for example, has the academic ability to gain admission to an Ivy League college, nor should they. That said, a large part of the McQuaid Jesuit experience is to challenge our men, and the college search process is no different. We believe each student should develop a list of good Fit colleges he would like to apply to and if that includes a reach school or two, that is a good thing so long as he realistically understands his chances of admission are not a guarantee.

Through the Junior Group Guidance class taught by our counselors, each young man will learn the skills necessary to identify good Fit factors in a College. They will be taught to conduct a research based search to identify colleges that might be a good fit, and then to research in depth the product that college offers. Finally, they will be taught how to properly assess their chances of admission to each college on their list.

Concurrent with finding the right Fit process, each student will learn how to best represent themselves to the colleges they are applying to, thus maximizing their chances for a successful review of their application. Our end goal is to position each of our seniors and their families to make this major life decision with confidence.