Monday, November 7, 2011

College Anxiety: Cost, Part III

In this November 8th Wall Street Journal article, this discussion centers around whether it is worth it to attend an Ivy League school and amass debt or instead attend a less prestigious public university and graduate loan-free?  I discussed this in a previous blog entry, but according to this article more and more students are choosing to go to state schools even if they are accepted to Ivy League or schools with comparable reputations.

The considerations, according to the author are:
  • Ivy League schools tend to have more aggressive recruiting from employers, even during recessions--they may not make it to a public university.
  • The connections one makes at more prestigious schools can help to advance one's career after college or help a student get into a more prestigious graduate school.
  • Students can be denied enrollment into over-crowded courses at some state schools, causing their graduation sequence to be delayed or for important courses to be missed entirely.
All of these might be food for thought for any student trying to decide between Harvard and the University of Virginia, but there are ways that students who have chosen the path of smaller debt totals can counteract these concerns:
  • Apply for and seek out strong summer or capstone internships that can help to add prestige to a resume and also foster influential connections
  • Take on leadership or research roles in your institution, again adding strength to your future applications as well as assisting in connecting you to important people in your field
  • If your school has an honors program or honors college, apply--you will often be connected with other focused and academically strong students and also may be able to get first crack at registering for courses each semester
Money is not the only factor, but it does play a role in where students and their families ultimately decide to go to college, regardless of where they may have been accepted, especially in a tough economy.

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