How To Get The Best Value Out Of College
December 25, 2012

Because of the current state of student loans there’s been a lot of debate lately around the idea that college may not be worth it anymore. Of course, it depends on the individual; some young people find their personal path lies in less conventional learning environments. However, for many, traditional higher education is still the best route to the life they desire. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a sucker about it. It’s an easy trap to fall into: education is so important and so well marketed by schools that students end up thinking the best way to get a bang for your buck is to go the best school possible and hang the expense, relying on the reputation of the school to help land a good job. This kind of thinking is sadly now pretty naïve. Getting a good value out of college has become a different game entirely, one that acknowledges education as a commodity just like any other consumer good.

Pick A School That Wants You

If you just barely squeak into Harvard they aren’t likely to offer you much by way of financial aid, which will likely leave you stuck with a hefty load of student loans. A school that’s dying to have you, on the other hand, is likely to offer you a juicy financial aid package, often without diminishing hireability after college.

Choose The Right Major

The pay differential for new entrants to the job market is hugely dependent on what you’ve studied in college. Some of this might go without saying; it’s no surprise that a fledgling engineer makes more than, say, a budding philosopher, but sometimes the best career choices can surprise you.

Look At The School’s Retention and Graduation Rates

You’ll notice for example that the graduation and retention rates of most for profit colleges pretty much suck. A college with high retention and graduation rates generally means that the school puts students first and is very much invested in strong academics and student success.

See How Much Debt Students Graduate With

You’ll want to choose a school where on average students graduate with a low percentage of debt. It’s funny; the amount of debt students typically graduate with doesn’t always reflect the price of tuition, which makes this a pretty important statistic.

Work While You Learn

Having a job while you’re in school doesn’t work for everyone and students who work their way through college are more likely on average to take longer to get their diploma. However, you can drastically reduce the amount of student loans you’ll be stuck with once you do graduate. Plus, in today’s world, there are so many ways to find work where you can make your own schedule, which is perfect for college. There’s part time telecommuting work, for instance, or you can design and sell your own embroidered t-shirts for a handsome profit.

Student loans are pretty much a fact of college these days but there are ways to limit your debt before, during and after school. For assistance with optimizing student debt, don’t hesitate to contact the experts.