There are few times in our life that are more nerve-wracking and exciting than when we are searching for the right college that will fit both our educational priorities and our budget. While student loans are always an option that can help with paying for school, it’s in everyone’s best interest to be able to pay for college without having to go into debt… even if it’s low-interest debt.
Luckily, there are endless resources available both online and from school guidance counselors who can make your decision, and the application process, much easier. The first step is always pushing yourself to get the best information, but after that you might be surprised to find that identifying the perfect college can be a fun and simply process.
First and foremost, you need to ask yourself what your long-term career and educational goals are, even if you aren’t yet in a position to know what kind of a career you want to focus on. While it’s true that you can find out a lot about your proclivities by taking electives your first year in college, you want to make sure that you choose a school that focuses on areas of study that are interesting and exciting to you.
After you’ve identified a list of a half dozen or so colleges that you think would be right for you, it’s time to send out your applications, giving yourself plenty of time to receive acceptance letters before the next semester starts. Remember: just because you got an acceptance letter from a college or university doesn’t necessarily mean that you are required to go there!
Once you have your acceptance letters, take a long time researching the different schools and comparing the cost of education there. By comparing that cost to the average yearly salary that new graduates from these colleges obtain (this is usually data available at the recruitment offices), you should have a much better idea about which place is the best fit for you.