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College Talk Blog

College Buyer Beware

The downside of acceptance by reach schools

The good news is that you've been accepted by Hard2getinto University. The bad news may be just around the corner. It is not unusual to see students and their parents working overtime to get the student into the reach school on their list. It is surprising that few realize what that will mean to them when their first semester of college academic work actually begins.

Hard2getinto University is also hard when it comes to course difficulty. Families like to point to the high graduation rates for such schools.

Choosing an ivy could cost you

Some of the most accomplished students and parents I meet believe that they must enroll in a highly prestigious or ivy league college to be successful. However, most are unaware that such decisions can increase their costs depending on their income. The reason is twofold:
1) the majority of such colleges have migrated to a need-based aid philosophy
2) all students who apply to such schools have such similar achievement that it is hard for most students to stand out. 

The same student applying to a wider variety of colleges will find excellent quality and a variety of costs and merit aid offers.

College costs

College costs that come to mind for most families are tuition, room and board. But families report many other smaller costs that are part of the true cost of college including:

Books, copy paper
Moving off campus
Laundry supplies and costs
Meal Plan Upgrades
Student Activity Fees and Event Fees
Athletic Fees
Greek Organization Fees
Other Food Purchases
Other costs can include:
Cable TV Fee
Adjustments to Cell Phone Service
Travel for students to return home for holidays and summer vacation
Travel for students to participate in study abroad and internships

College cost, complexity, competitiveness and your teen

At the same time that a post high school education has increased in importance to future job success, college has become more expensive and competitive. Cost, complexity and the long term impact on the future success of a teen make the college major and college choice process something that you should not leave to your teen alone. This expensive (100,000+) major life decision demands parent participation. If you are not an expert, you can engage a professional in college advising to save time and money and improve outcomes.

Education consumers beware

Education is a marketplace like any other product or service based arena. There is a wonderful array of high quality options for goods and services, there are some that are mediocre and there are some that are just plain bad for you. Name a product or service in education, and there is huge marketplace in the USA ready to provide quality service with integrity at a reasonable price...or make a buck and possibly do harm to your future.
All colleges and educational programs are not created equal.