I recently came across an article published by usatodayeducate.com entitled, “The greatest advice ever for choosing a college.” Although my personal college search ended a few years ago (Penn State University) I was still interested in what the article had to say. After reading, I wish I had come across this article years ago when I was choosing a college. Being that now is the time of year when high school students start to receive college letters in the mail, bringing them joy or misery, I wanted to share some of the tips from the article. In the hopes of aiding anyone in a time of uncertainty. Below are five tips from the article, “The greatest advice ever for choosing a college, for more information check out the full article by clicking here.
1. Even if you have a .01% chance of getting in, apply to your dream school: Maybe you don’t have the GPA or haven’t done enough extracurriculars, but you know deep down in your heart that there’s still hope. Even if you have the smallest chance known to mankind of getting into your dream school, submit that application.
2. If you go the expensive route, have a good reason: If you end up getting accepted into your dream school or just a really good school, you still might want to reconsider if it’s pricey and you didn’t land scholarships or grants. With the average student accruing $26,549 of student loan debt, according to FICO Banking Analytics, it’s clear that tuition bills will add up quickly.
3. Don’t choose a college in a city/town you’d hate living in: As much as some try to deny it, location matters. It affects who we meet, what we do and overall happiness. It’s not everything, of course, but it plays a role. And I’d advise anyone not to go to a college that’s in a town they’d be miserable living in for four years.
4. Consider college rankings and alumni earnings: It’s difficult to determine how much college rankings matter. On one side, highly ranked private schools topped the charts of 30-year student earnings in the survey “What’s Your Degree Worth?”, published by Bloomberg Businessweek. But on the other hand, The Atlantic highlighted a study that showed that two groups of students earned around the same wages: those who went to highly selective schools and those who were accepted into prestigious schools but went to less-selective schools instead. Which study you put more weight on is up to you. But look at both rankings and alumni earnings because they can help you gauge how valuable your education will be.
5. Don’t go with plan B until plan A truly fails: Don’t give up on your dream school until it’s over. Apply to the school and if accepted, do all you can to get there. Perhaps this means spending hours a day looking for scholarships or grants or setting everything up for relocation. Whatever it means, keep it your plan A and fight for it.
- College Planning – Getting advice, choosing a college and finding a career (bigfuture.collegeboard.org)
- From the NACAC Study: What is NO LONGER Important in College Admission (myiesolutions.wordpress.com)
- Avoid 4 Common Pitfalls While Searching for Colleges (usnews.com)
- 5 Smart Ways to Choose the Best College for You (sesimag.com)