Finding the Right College: Tips for Your Search

Should I Even Go to College?

It is estimated that 63% of high school seniors across the country will go on to attend college. College life can be exciting and rewarding, and earning a degree will increase your earning power over your lifetime dramatically.

Relax You’ve Got Options

The college search process may be one of the most important searches you will ever make in your life and should not be taken lightly.  It is vital that the search for the right college begin as far in advance as possible allowing you to make the right choice.  Many students , along with help from their guidance counselor and parents will begin the search process as early as their Sophomore year in high school.

Having said that, let’s relax and take a deep breath, because with all of the outstanding options available to today’s potential college enrollee,  finding a college that is perfect for your needs is not as difficult as you may think, in fact, it’s never been easier.  Their are a host of websites, college search databases and other resources available to you.  Many can be access without you even needing to leave the comfort of your home.

Counting the Cost of College

Unfortunately one of the major factors that most families must consider when looking to attend college, is finances. The cost of a college education has gone up considerably over the last few decades, far outstripping both the inflation rate and many families’ ability to afford to pay for a college education.

If cost is a potential obstacle, Choosing an in-state school will offer tremendous savings on tuition, and should be a top consideration. It should be remembered that tuition at state colleges is usually less expensive than private institutions.  A state university can provide an education that is just as good, if not better than private colleges.

If you choose to attend an out-of-state college, the cost of getting your degree will be much higher.  You must decide if the additional cost is worth it.  You and your family may want to take a look at the amount of scholarships, financial aid and other funding you have available to you, before choosing a college in another state.

Community or Tech Trade Schools

Community or technical colleges can also be a good choice to reduce the financial strain when looking to find a college. Lower cost makes these schools more attractive, but this is far from their only benefit. If you have already decided on your chosen career path and are ready to begin learning, community or technical colleges offer specialized degree programs or certificates in many fields.

Note: These programs are highly focused and stress hands-on learning over generalized study. Even if attending a four year school, be sure to find a college that has an excellent reputation in the field you plan to study.

Don’t Rush Your Decision

Choosing the right college is a decision that can affect the rest of your life. Careful consideration should be given to all factors to avoid wasting time at a school that is not right for you. If you find a college that you think meets all your selection criteria and later find out that you made a mistake, your academic career could be set back for a year or more.

In this time, you will rack up more costs and wind up graduating with even more of a financial burden. Staying at the wrong school can be even more disastrous, potentially resulting in an education that provides little value to your chosen path in life.

About the Author

Johnny Rogers and His wife Helena are the owners of College Tidbits – The Online College Planning Guide. If you found this article useful, they would greatly appreciate it,  if you would consider Liking their Facebook Fan Page or Following them on Twitter.

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Image Credit: NBJEnglish

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