With roughly 3000 colleges and universities in the country, choosing the right one can be a daunting choice for many students. How to find the right fit for a student depends on many factors such as:
– number of students
– student/faculty ratio (lower is better)
– four year graduation rate
– majors offered
These are only a few of the factors I encourage students to consider when narrowing their search to the top 5-8 schools they choose to pursue. Even if a student has a top choice favorite, it’s critical to have alternate schools in mind in case the top choice doesn’t work out.
Students and parents are often surprised to find that sometimes their most affordable options are the most expensive schools, even the Ivy Leagues. I have students on full rides to Harvard, Stanford, Duke and many other top tier schools. These students would have paid much more out of pocket if they attended their local state university.
In summary, smart students consider a broader range of schools than simply the closest state university. If you live in California, then you could go to a San Diego college but I encourage each student to have at least one state school option but then to cast the net wide, applying to the other private or public schools that fit them best, even if slightly outside their immediate region. While a state school may look like a financial safety, it’s wise to cast the net wider and consider a variety of options. Once all of the admission and scholarship offers are on the table, only then can a student make the fully informed decision that is right for them.
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