How to Pick the Best College Value

on July 27, 2017

When deciding on colleges, it takes more than comparing each institution’s price to find the right pick. There are several factors to weigh, such as facilities, proximity to a city and alumni network.

 

Here are some tips on how to pick the best college value:

 

Weigh Financial Aid Options

 

Financial aid comes in many forms, and knowing the differences between its different forms helps you get a grasp on which college is the least expensive. Scholarships usually are granted based on personal need, academic ability or a skillset and and don’t need to be paid back. Loans, on the other hand, are borrowed by students to pay for college and must be paid back later. Because of interest rates, which make the sum grow over time, student loans can be difficult to pay back quickly.

 

Research what sort of financial aid is granted by each college you’re interested in and how much debt each student graduates with on average. Placing preference in colleges that give need-based scholarships is a far better choice than having to graduate with the burden of student load debt.

 

Look for Your Major

 

Just because you’d be paying more at one college doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for what you want to study. Research the colleges that are the best for what you’re looking to major in. Even if you aren’t sure what your major will be, compare programs that interest you among colleges. Reputation isn’t everything, and many smaller colleges have superior programs than more renowned institutions.

 

Small Costs

 

Although they shouldn’t be the most important factor when picking a college, tallying up the small costs is a smart thing to do. Depending on what college you attend, account for the price of weather-appropriate clothes, travel, future off-campus housing, transit and nightlife.

 

It’s also crucial to understand a college’s net price. As tuition rises each year, it’s possible for colleges to decrease the aid it grants to students. Use a net price calculator, usually found on each college’s website, to get a better idea of what you’ll pay each year instead of going off the estimated cost. Adding the estimated small costs mentioned above to the net price should give the most accurate figure for a college’s yearly price.

 

Graduates’ Average Earnings

 

One key element is how much each college’s average graduate earns. It isn’t the most important factor, but it hints at how well the institution prepares its students for careers and how successful it’s alumni network is. Finding the average earnings for graduates with your desired major offers an even more detailed look, as some majors earn far more than others.

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