As high school seniors and college transfers are coming into the final stretch of their college selection process I would like to weigh in and offer a few helpful hints that will save you countless dollars as well as heartaches. You can thank me later. Here are four things to think over carefully before making your final decision. Taking the wrong things into consideration in any of these areas could make your next four years miserable… maybe even miserable enough to cut them short. Don’t make that mistake. Start now to get connected, stay connected and graduate!
In-state or Out of state?
Wise men travel but wise people are also strategic. If you are planning to attend a school that is out of state be sure that you have alternative methods for traveling home over the holiday breaks. For instance, will you be driving home, taking the train, flying, or catching a bus? If so, please remember to factor this into your school expenses. Also, make sure that these places are accessible from your school.
Community College, the great gateway
Community College is not the 13th grade. That’s right, I said it. It’s better to attend community college instead of no college at all. If you can’t afford to attend your top choice, it’s alright to go to community college for a few semesters and then transfer . It’s okay to attend community college if you are unsure of your college major or if college is right for you. I know that community college doesn’t seem as glamorous as an Ivy or that top tier state school but when you attend a community college you have two great advantages. The first advantage is affordability. Whether you finish your degree at a community college or transfer, you can bet that you will save plenty of money. In fact, if you attend community college you will slash at least 40% (on average) of college cost. Debt can a huge problem after you graduate from college, why deal with it when you don’t have to? The second advantage in attending a community college is transferability. Community college courses are designed with transferring in mind. Your job is to make sure that you speak with the transfer advisor before you take the class. In doing so, this will insure that your classes will transfer once you matriculate. As long as you reach your desired destination, does it really matter where you started?
Don’t make a college selection based on emotions.
Relationships are important. However, just remember that relationships do change. Therefore never make a major life decision like where you will attend college based on emotions. College is a time to discover who you are and most importantly who you want to be. If you are misled by your emotions you can potentially make a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that you are very hopeful that your relationships will work in your favor. There is always the possibility for things to work out but then again there is always the possibility that it will not. Please think your decision through and think of the big picture. If it’s meant to be then it will be. Trust me, I know.
Show me the GR
What matters the most in college? One of the most overlooked and important aspects of choosing your college are the institution’s graduation rates. It’s easy to fall in love with the college’s campus, residence hall, location, promises, people, traditions, sport teams, academic repetition, etc. But what about the school’s retention rate? Better yet, what about the school’s graduation rate? I don’t want to be the messenger of bad news but if the school you are planning to attend has a poor graduation rate, there’s a reason behind it. When it comes down to it, it’s about your education. If the institution fails to provide the student support services necessary to help their students graduate then that’s not the institution for you. Forget about all the extras. It’s all about getting connected, staying connected, and graduating. Similar to sports, great players and teams are not considered great because of their stats, they are considered great because they win championships. Likewise, it’s the college degree that will provide you with life-long opportunities, not college experience. Before you make your final decision to attend the school of your choosing don’t forget to look at the graduation rate.
Tawan Perry is the creator of the comprehensive Connect-5 College Completion Program. As a college speaker and as both a former student leader and college administrator, Tawan uses the Connect-5 College Completion program to help guide students step by step from college prep to cap and gown.