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Michael D.

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How do i decide which college to go to?

I have been wondering on what college should i go to. My family has been telling me to go to the best college that i can get admitted to and worry about the debt later since i will be earning enough to pay the debt. Even though i want to go to a good college, i don't want to go into debt by doing so and am not to confident in the job market since i want to major in mathematics.

what is more important for me, good education or financial stability? #college #university

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I would say finances should play a role in what school you go to. Consider what your potential income will be in the job you intend to pursue and factor that into your decision. For example, if your dream job will pay $40,000 a year but you need an advanced degree, you have to consider that it will take you a long, long time to pay off your debt if you go to a more expensive school. If you are willing to be in debt for the rest of your life (it sounds dramatic but it is unfortunately true in the United States right now), then go to the best school you can go to for your career. As soon as you decide what you want to do and what schools you want to apply to, begin looking into scholarships. There is a LOT out there, a lot more than you would expect, and any amount of scholarship can help relieve the stresses of debt.
Last updated Nov 10 '17 at 06:00 PM

Generally speaking, the most important thing is the effort you put in while you're in school, not the school itself.

There are, however, some advantages and disadvantages to more or less prestigious schools. For example, if you are planning to go to graduate or professional school, a more prestigious undergraduate degree can help. Similarly, some employers may recruit at certain schools but not others. Again, this assumes you work hard, not just have the name of the school.

On the other hand, many big name schools are fairly poor in some programs. For example, some Ivy League schools have minimal engineering and science departments. Many of them compare poorly to the flagship public universities in these areas.

Finally, I will say that I attended a prestigious undergraduate institution, and a less prestigious graduate institution. The less prestigious school had fewer resources, and less prestigious companies recruited there, and the students weren't quite as well prepared. But I do think I got more out of my time there, because I put more into it. I think among students at big name schools, there is a tendency to coast, under the assumption that as long as you have the right name on your degree, nothing else matters. That would be a mistake.

Last updated Jan 05 '17 at 10:55 PM

Choose Your Top Priorities

What factors are the most important to you about your future college or university? Do you want small class sizes? Specific academic programs? A good sports program or active Greek community? Is distance from home an issue? What are your housing options at each potential college? Revisiting these and other pertinent questions can help you highlight the pros and cons of different colleges and universities, which can make your decision more clear.

Compare Degree Programs

From online degrees to traditional 4-year programs to MBAs, each major or program of study comes with a unique level of prestige and quality. Will a degree from one university give you more bargaining power when it comes to your future careers? Which school’s courses and majors will help you get into the graduate school programs you’re interested in? These questions can certainly swing your final college decision.

Review Your Financial Aid Package

Cost is undoubtedly an important factor in your college search. Differences in tuition fees and financial aid packages for each university can often be incentive enough to choose between two similar schools.

If a less desirable financial aid package is preventing you from attending your dream school, contact the school to discuss whether a better financial aid deal is possible. If colleges and universities know that you have been offered more competitive packages at other schools, they may be willing to offer additional financial aid. This practice is becoming increasingly common as schools compete for top candidates.

Consider Whether the Environment Suits You

Weather and climate are often overlooked or underestimated when selecting a school, but can have a significant impact on your college experience. Similarly, city and campus environment are just as important. Consider revisiting campuses during different seasons to determine which college choice "feels" right to you and whether you can handle any weather extremes.

Considering a community college close to home or distance learning program? If you’re planning on furthering your education close to home, you’ll already be familiar with the climate and location, but you should consider whether you’ll continue to be happy in that area for the next two or four years, however long you plan to study toward your degree.

Read College Blogs

You'll likely find college blogs to be a good, quick way to check the pulse of the student complaints and accolades. These blogs often feature insider information from current college and university students. As such, blogs can be a great place to learn less biased information about colleges and universities than you’ll find in college brochures.

Compare Your Colleges

Compare each degree program in your college search using Campus Explorer’s Compare Schools feature. To use, go to My Schools and click the “Compare Schools” button.

Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong decision when choosing the college or university to attend. The best you can do is make an informed decision based on the information you have. Good luck!

Deciding on a School Tips & Tactics

As soon as you’ve made your final decision, let the schools you’re rejecting know. That way, they can offer your spot, and any financial aid, to another student. If you’ve made personal relationships with admissions officers or students at schools you’re rejecting, consider sending them a personal note thanking them for their help. It’s always good to maintain good relationships – especially if you may end up transferring in the future. Don’t think you can coast through your senior year. A college acceptance is conditional, meaning that if you let your grades tank or get in trouble at your school or with the law, your acceptance could be revoked.

Last updated Oct 26 '16 at 01:42 AM
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