As we move through the college process, a student’s biggest decision is where to go to college. Often this is a family decision, made together, and with a good deal of thought. Too often money is the main factor, and while cost is important, it’s absolutely mandatory that other things are considered with the same weight. Is the school a good fit? In other words does the geographic location, the campus size and demographics, and the “feel” of the campus, allow for the student to comfortably call the school “home”? Second, is the student sure about their major and backup choices, and does the college offer these majors and a good path to employment in said majors. Failure to identify these perfect matches often leads to a 5-6 year journey to a degree, rather than the desired (and usually budgeted for) 4 years.
So you see, while a school may be “cheaper” on the surface, the right fit, 4 year completion, and certainly the end goal of a job, are just as important and candidly, have more impact on the final return on investment, than the price itself. Also, always remember, the sticker price is not necessarily the price you will end up paying. Often times the most expensive schools offer the most financial aid to families. A $70,000 annual sticker can end up having an actual price of $25,000 annually-less than many state schools actual price!
Make sure you and your student are evaluating everything in the all important decision making process. I am here to help if you need me.
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