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Choosing the Right School

Consider what is most important to you when a school when you narrow down your options. Eliminate schools from your list that are unrealistic, not in your desired location, do not offer you field of study, and lack the campus lifestyle you want. Remember to apply to schools for what they offer, not what they lack. Once you have been accepted to schools, compare their financial aid packages and factor cost into your decision. Decide how many student loans you are willing to take out for school. If you think your dream school is worth the financial stretch, apply for scholarships and grants to reduce the cost as much as possible.

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Put Reputations Aside

Every high school senior has a dream school. Always apply to more than one school. Apply to that dream school, but have a list of backup schools. Look into schools that are in your dream location, but are less competitive and more affordable. Also look for schools that offer a wide range of programs so you can enter as undecided, and change your major easily in the future. Remember, during your college search, put reputations aside, and prioritize your list on your criteria, not based on your peers’.

Cost Considerations

If you're concerned about student debt, consider community college. Starting at 2 year school and transferring credits will save money and lower student loan debt. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, enrollment at community college has increased by 25%. Many students enrolled in community college are returning students looking to improve their skills or pick up a new, more marketable trade. If you plan to attend community college to complete your general education requirements, confirm with your college that the credits are acceptable. If community college is not for you, look at state schools to lower your cost of education. You will still get the full college experience at half the cost of a private institution. Staying in state will also make you eligible for state scholarships. Choosing the right school is difficult, but with research you will find the perfect school at the right price.

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Last Reviewed: February 2021