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Friday, February 27, 2009

Is your University really Worth that Much?

By Samantha Asher

The cost of college has gone up considerably over the past couple decades. What's strange to see is how different college can cost from one school to another. Go to an Ivy League or top private school and expect to pay over $30,000 a year. Go to a community college and transfer to a four year state college, and (only considering tuition, not room and board), and you probably won't spend $30,000 for all 4 years in tuition and fees.

How can one school charge $30,000 a year when a state school is charging about $6,000 a year or less? How does that make sense? Are the more expensive schools really that much better? Are those going to a state school getting an inferior education?

Many people look at state schools as inferior because they cost so much less, but they don't think about why they cost so much less. They assume that less cost to them means bad teachers, few programs, and a potentially bad experience.

If you went to a public elementary school and public middle school and high school, your educators received money from the government. This is just how it is set up with college except it costs a little more for them to run a college, which is why they charge you tuition. Private schools get no government funding.

When you go to college, you will get what you put into it. Even beyond the price, you will learn more if you take part in your classes, study, join associations and clubs, and decide that you'll learn. Don't use price to help you decide how good an education is. Sometimes the more expensive colleges are worse but charge more because they waste money on needless 'cosmetic' things.

Begin by deciding what major and career you are interested. Check to see if the schools you are looking at have the necessary departments. Then, ask others, such as friends and potential employers, which school has the best graduates and the most jobs after college. Ask people who went to the schools how they liked it.

Make sure you get all your information from reliable sources. Don't listen to gossip from people who know nothing about the colleges. Listen to past graduates and people who have been there. Even online reviews such as Princeton Reviews are much more reliable than that guy who's been bad-mouthing your favorite school because he wasn't accepted.

Pay attention to the price or else you'll end up throwing away a lot of money. Remember, money isn't everything and money doesn't decide the true value of a school. Choose the school you feel is best for you without going above your budget.

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