It appeared to me when a graduate school application form asked me

Why do you think X university is an intellectual fit for you?

What does intellectual fit mean?

  • What particular part of the phrase do you misunderstand? This is a normal use of the adjective intellectual and the noun fit Dec 9, 2011 at 9:09

3 Answers 3


When we are talking about university. "Intellectual fit" here means that whether that particular university provides you an environment where you can have your intellectual growth, it understand your thoughts or can support you intellectually like and intellectual person.
Other than providing you education it should also be fit enough to nurture your mental thoughts and ideas.
Intellectual actually means :

The intellect or understanding; mental powers or faculties.

  • That is such bad writing. And "intellectual" in "intellectual fit" is adjective, not noun. Dec 9, 2011 at 19:20

EducationalPortal.com gives the following advice on how to determine if you are a good intellectual fit for any given Ph.D program. Although it is specific to a doctoral program, it gives a pretty good idea of what intellectual fit means.

Intellectual Atmosphere

This is one of the hardest factors to determine, but it's also important to the nature of your experience as a doctoral student. Do you consider yourself a liberal or conservative intellectual - not in terms of your politics, but in terms of your research interests? Are you interested in an environment that encourages cross-disciplinary study or traditional fieldwork? Read some of the recent publications by faculty members and compare them to the tone of your favorite theorists in your field. Some variety is important, but if they differ dramatically, you may not be a good intellectual fit in that department.

So, your general philosophy should be compatible with that of a particular school for it to be a good intellectual fit for you. An extreme example would be, if you believe in evolution, a school with a Fundamentalist Christian philosophy would not be a good intellectual fit for you, and vice-versa.

  • +1 for the explanation. More for the extract.
    – Kris
    Dec 9, 2011 at 10:24

Every university (and each program within the university) has a "slant." Then the question is, does this university's "slant" meet your particular intellectual needs? Or another of putting it, "is this university's slant compatible with your own?"

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