Time to apply for college. Naturally you want the best college for your money. What will be the deciding factor? How will you know you’ve made a good decision?
Let me tell you a few things about the real world, so you can choose wisely.
First, What do you plan to go to college to do?
Do you want to be a doctor?
Maybe a CEO or other big business tycoon?
Top Dog at a big law firm?
Or, perhaps your plans are more modest.
Maybe you want to be a high school teacher.
A coach at a junior college.
Or become an entrepreneur running your own successful business.
All worthy goals. And finding the best college for your money can definitely challenge your decision making skills.
So here’s guideline #1: Do you have an estimated salary? Let me introduce you to the concept of return on investment. If you plan to do one of the aggressive items above that depend on external verification of your skills or require high powered networks, then you may need a high powered school.
The return on your investment in salary at a high cost school would come back to you as a high salary.
For the other items, and most other career fields, you won’t need that expensive degree. A degree, yes, but the best college for your money could be a local state college.
For most people, if you plan to have a good career with lots of opportunity, but don’t plan to rule the world, then you don’t really need the expensive school.
Even Ronald Reagan went to Eureka College, a very small school, and not one with a high value network.
Also, there are more schools with valuable networks than just Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and Stanford. Every region of the country has a couple of high-value regional schools.
And now, time for guideline #2: Think about this. Do you think your future career will be defined more by where you went to school, or by the actions and decisions you make once out of school?
Believe it or not, the decades of time after school will determine more than the handful of years you are in college paying tuition. Weird, right?
Yes, sometimes the school you go to will bring opportunities you can’t get anywhere else. I know. You have to decide what kind of career you want to have.
If a prestigious school will help with getting your career off the ground, great. But remember, for most people and most careers, it doesn’t matter.
What really matters will be what you do after.
So don’t stress yourself out over the highest cost school on your list. You may find you are just as happy at another school, and have just as many opportunities, but fewer student loans.
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