Strategies for Choosing the Right College

young woman in dorm roomIf you and your child are in the process of researching and selecting colleges, you know that it can be a long process. One of the things that can contribute to the length of the task is that you’ll want to find a happy medium between a college that your child wants to attend and one that is financially feasible for you.

The rising cost of college makes the search all the more difficult. As the cost continues to rise, more and more students are becoming saddled with an excessive amount of debt.

Two excellent solutions to the dilemma are public state universities and two-year community colleges, both of which you’ll want to consider when choosing the right college for your child. Here’s why:

Two-Year Community Colleges

Attending a nearby two-year community college not only enables you to spend less money for room and board – perhaps significantly less – but also can help save a significant amount of money for tuition, especially if your child does not yet know which subject to select as a major, such as biology, computer science or teaching.

At a two-year college, your child, for example, could take the required general courses that are required as part of every major, giving him or her more experience for deciding which subject to select as a major. After completing those courses and deciding on a major, your child could then transfer to a university of choice to complete the final two years.

Were your child to attend a four-year college from the start and change majors during the first two years, you will likely incur expenses that could have otherwise been avoided. For example, some classes taken for the original major might no longer be counted for the new major as credit toward graduation, or additional courses toward the new major might be required.

According to the College Board, average tuition and fees for an academic year at a two-year public institution is $3,347. In comparison, tuition and fees for a four-year in-state university is $9,139.

Public State Universities

Attending a four-year, public state university in the same state where you live is significantly less expensive than attending a state university in another state or a private university. The reason is that public state universities offer lower tuition rates for in-state residents. In addition, they can enable a student to immediately dive into extracurricular activities and specialized programs that may not be offered at a two-year college.

Whichever path toward college that you and your child decide to explore, be sure to take advantage of any scholarship opportunities available, and be sure to fill out an application for Federal student aid.

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Categories: College Planning
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