What should students look for in a college? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.
Every year, students who have amazing SAT or ACT scores, great GPA and school ranking, and have a resume full of extracurriculars gain admission into Ivy League schools and other top-tier universities. But, once accepted, they must make a difficult decision because they realize how expensive schools are.
For example, a student might receive a $25,000 a year scholarship, which can be renewable for four years at a top private university. While that might seem like an impressive amount, the question remains: Does it really make a dent when the tuition and cost of attendance are $75,000 or more each year? That scholarship will only cover a third of the student’s bills, leaving them in debt with $200,000 in student loans once they graduate.
Unfortunately, not many parents have $200,000 per child sitting in a bank account to use on college tuition. Therefore, many students face a difficult decision, and many choose that elite school with a hefty price tag and then drown in student loans upon graduation. The question remains: Is it worth it?
Here are a few things students should consider before applying to a particular college:
* The university’s sticker price does not equal net price. There are other costs beyond what you see on the school’s website. Things like books, room and board, parking fees, traveling to and from home for the holidays, and more also add to the cost of attending the school.
* Look at the major and its future earning potential. According to PayScale’s 2019-2020 College Salary Report, the major you pick does affect your future potential earnings, at least in the short-term. It should come as no surprise but the majors that tend to have the highest earning potential will be STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors, as well as accounting and aerospace. Unfortunately, arts and humanities majors are more likely to earn less. Luckily, humanitarian fields tend to catch up with the other fields as time goes on.
* What financial aid is offered. When working with students, many are shocked that Ivy League schools do not offer merit-based scholarships. Instead, it is all based on financial need. Therefore, if your family makes over a certain threshold, it might mean you don’t get much financial aid, but paying for college will be difficult.
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