College selection is the most important financial decision you’ll make in your life. While parents and students are told to select more than 8 colleges to research, the current guidelines refer to the degree of urbanization, college size, academic program offerings, etc. My goal is to provide more guidance on this process by discussing college selection indicators such as costs, quality, completions, transfer, tuition discounting, remedial education, and so on.
I have been working in higher education for more than 7 years. During this time I learned that higher education can be opaque and esoteric field, even though its main goal is to help as many people as possible. I learned that students and parents need to know that:
- college costs go way beyond tuition and fees
- the vast majority of students need 6 years to complete a degree and about 40% never do it
- quality in higher education is hard to assess, but there are better ways to assess it than rankings
- remedial education is a big deal and it costs valuable time and money, delaying and in some cases preventing college completion
- transfer is a multifaceted and complex process riddled with uncertainty
- tuition discounting can present significant challenges
- the worst case scenario is dropping out without a degree riddled with debt
All in all, the goal is to provide parents and students with data and research to inform the most important financial decision of their lives.