Making Sense of Cents and College Ave Student Loans have partnered on a series of blog posts on what to expect when it comes to planning for college…especially when it comes to time to pay. Through the series, we hope families gain a little more insight on how to tackle the next four or more years ahead with a stronger financial footing. All opinions are 100% my own. To learn more, please visit: https://www.collegeavestudentloans.com.
There are over 1,000 colleges in the United States alone.
The list of college majors is long as well.
When deciding what college to apply to, it can be a tough decision.
You shouldn't just choose whatever college your friend applies to, or the college that the majority of your school is going to.
All colleges are different, and all people are different too. People may be on different career paths, they may have different needs for a college, and so on.
This can make choosing what college to apply and attend a difficult one.
However, it's not impossible!
College costs are one of the largest “purchases” a person will ever make. The other big purchase would most likely be a house that a person buys. However, sometimes a house may cost LESS than a college degree!
The cost of college can vary significantly, as you can see. Tuition for an in-state public college averages around $28,000 and a more expensive private college tuition is double that amount at an average of $59,000. For a four year elite university, the cost jumps to $68,000. Lastly, if your child (or you) is enrolled in higher education for something like medicine or law, college costs may reach hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.
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There's a myth that expensive colleges are always better than the cheaper ones. As if higher college costs means that you'll automatically get a great job, you'll have an extremely high salary, and more.
Well, that's not always true.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal:
From the academics [who have studied whether students from elite institutions outperform their peers or not] we know that in terms of future earnings, 1) your choice of field matters more than your choice of college, 2) after controlling for ability, the earnings differences of graduates from elite and non-elite institutions are small at best, and 3) any earnings advantage that may emerge over the long run is difficult to concretely tie back to the effects of one’s college choice.
When deciding what college to attend, you will want to think about what return you will get on that degree. After all, like discussed above, college can be expensive!
And, not all colleges will work for every single person. There is a reason for why there are so many different colleges out there – because not everyone is on the exact same path.
Some of the factors you will want to think about when deciding what college to attend include:
- The accreditation of the college- this is especially important if you want an advanced degree, such as medicine or law, because accreditation can determine whether or not you can go on to the next level of schooling.
- The degrees that are offered by the college.
- The college costs and whether scholarships or financial aid are available. Remember, sometimes the more expensive schools may actually be less than you think due to more financial aid given out to potential students. So, you should compare and contrast financial aid packages.
- The location of the college.
- Student to faculty ratio – If you need more one-on-one help with your studies, then this may be an important number to know.
- The expertise of the professors – For me, I always liked to have professors who had hands-on knowledge in the fields they were teaching.
- Networking opportunities – A lot of life is about networking, and for some professions networking is a must.
- The full cost of the college: Such as the actual college tuition, room and board, fees, textbooks, financial aid, etc.
- The income potential of your degree. If your degree will earn you an income of $30,000, but it cost $200,000 to get the degree, you should definitely think hard about whether or not that degree is for you.
As you can see, there are many factors to think about when deciding what college to attend. It won't be an easy decision, but thankfully, there are many colleges that exist today that may help you to improve your life and help you reach your desired career path.
For other college tips, I recommend reading the articles below from College Ave Student Loans:
- Important Questions to Ask During Your Campus Visit
- How to Choose a College Major
- 10 of the Highest Paying College Majors
- 4 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going to Grad School
- Financial Considerations of Choosing a Minor
What other factors should a person think about when deciding what college to attend?
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