Getting into the right college can seem like a monumental task. There are hundreds of schools in Rhode Island and across the nation accepting candidates for admission. Finding the school that is your best fit and getting accepted is a task that, like finding a great job, requires some planning and forethought. Get organized in your approach, learn as much as you can about the schools you are interested in and the application process.
Some things you need to know:
Start your search with a self evaluation. Ask yourself what schools appeal to you and why. Then, honestly evaluate your abilities and accomplishments as a student. Some schools only accept a limited number of candidates.
Getting accepted means competing with other applicants. Make a list of all the schools you want to apply to and research their requirements for admission. Talk to your guidance counselor about creating a college list and how to effectively promote your candidacy.
A college planning checklist, information lists and charts are your best friends when applying to college. A chart makes it easy to see at a glance which schools you've applied to, what their application deadlines and entrance requirements are. Keeping a detailed list of potential school information helps you when it is time to apply for admission and financial aid.
You don't have to make all of these lists and charts up yourself. The College Planning Center provides free college application trackers in both PDF and Excel formats to make your job easier. You can download this and other useful resources to help get you started.
The time to apply to college arrives and it can seem like a daunting task at first. What colleges should you apply to? How do you know if they will be right for you? You can reduce the amount of stress involved by narrowing your choices in advance. Read on to find out how.
What degree do you want
The first thing you need to decide is what course of study you want to pursue. Not all colleges offer the same degree programs. Eliminating the schools that do not offer your choice of degree is the first step.
Do you want to live at home while attending college or live on campus? If you want a campus experience, how far from home can you go before you feel uncomfortable? Take into account how you will travel on school breaks and holidays.
Do you plan on participating in any sports while in college? If so, you will want to make sure a team is available when you apply to college. What about such clubs as Photography or an active LBGT community on campus? Take into consideration what social activities appeal to you and if they will be available.
How will you pay
College can be expensive. When choosing where to apply, take into account such things as available grants and scholarships. These can make a difference between being able to pay for school or having to skip a semester here and there. It will also determine whether or not you will need a job while also studying.
Divide your list
Once you have picked a number of schools that meet all your criteria, take time to divide the list into schools you know you will be accepted at, schools you are fairly sure of acceptance and schools that might be a bit difficult based on your SAT or ACT scores, class rank, GPA, etc. Once divided, pick the top two to three choices in each category and apply.
You should have anywhere from six to eight schools that fit your criteria. Keep in mind that when you apply to college, you will be spending at least the next four years there, so make sure all those you apply to are schools you can see yourself being happy attending.
Once all your applications have been sent and you have received acceptance letters, you need to choose between those who have accepted your application. Ideally, the school you want most will be among them. If it isn't, you can be sure that any schools that are will be a good fit and place you can be happy attending because you narrowed your choices and only applied to such schools. Pick the one among these that appeals to you the most and get ready for your next life adventure.
An undoubtedly important part your entire college application packet is the essay. This component is integral to many college's decision-making processes for several reasons. One, it shows the representatives on the college’s admissions board that you are able to put your thoughts together – through the written word – in an organized, creative, and grammatically-correct manner; it demonstrates you have a grasp of the English language. Second, the essay is the only time other than the in-person interview where you have the opportunity to share some personal and interesting information; the essay is the place to show the admissions office your personality. Third, the essay can significantly separate you from all the other student candidates vying for acceptance into the college; it’s the opportunity for you to show how you will fit in with the college culture and be an asset to the school.
The Components of an Amazing College Essay.
Now for the seemingly-hard part – actually writing the essay. If you break the writing process down into steps, it won’t be as overwhelming for you. You’ll then easily be able to work on the different components of it at a time instead of trying to craft the whole essay in one sitting. Along with making your essay personal and distinctly your own, there are several necessary parts to writing an amazing college essay that you will want to include: the opening line, the introduction, the paragraphs in the body of the essay, and the conclusion.
The opening line.
Start your essay with a direct and captivating line. One of our favorite essays from last year started with the simple phrase, "I have a passion for writing." Another example from Johns Hopkins University starts, "I have a blue seventh place athletic ribbon hanging on my mantel." This approach hints at the personality of the writer (humorous) and makes us want to read more ("what does the reader think about that blue seventh place ribbon?) If you are having trouble coming up with a good opening line, try researching meaningful and relevant quotes by famous classic writers, world-renowned scientists, or any other highly-respected and well-known non-controversial individual. Use that quote as inspiration for your opening line. Or you may even choose to incorporate it into your essay.
Now that you have the first sentence written for your intro, you have the opportunity to continue telling your story. Write a few sentences that elaborate on your opening line and think about how those following lines fit into the big theme of your essay. The following lines in the blue ribbon example cited above are, "Every day, as I walk into my living room, the award mockingly congratulates me as I smile. Ironically, the blue seventh place ribbon resembles the first place ribbon in color; so, if I just cover up the tip of the seven, I may convince myself that I championed the fourth heat. But, I never dare to wipe away the memory of my seventh place swim; I need that daily reminder of my imperfection. I need that seventh place."
These are the paragraphs that really explain who you are and further solidify what you wrote about in your introduction. Perhaps you’ve rescued animals your whole life and want to earn a degree in Veterinary Science. Maybe the college to which you are applying is the same one your mom attended. Or, maybe you will be the first person in your family to go to college. Whatever you choose to share – make it succinct and keep it personal. Your essay should not simply be a repeat of the information you shared on your application.
Here you restate the gist of your essay. The conclusion of the Johns Hopkins example states: "So, the blue seventh place ribbon sits there, on my mantel, for the world to see. I feel no shame in that. In fact, my memorable 20 laps mean more to me than an award because over time, the blue of the seventh place ribbon fades, and I become more colorful by embracing my imperfections and gaining resilience-but not athleticism."
If you need some help reviewing your essay, make an appointment with the College Planning Center of Rhode Island.
The cost of college is rising every year. But even as the sticker price goes up, discounts in the form of grants, scholarships and tuition waivers are also increasing. Planning your child’s college funding is not just a matter of putting money into savings. Considering you might be expected to pay $23,000 a year or more in out-of-pocket expenses for your teenager’s college tuition, fees, books, room and board, you may find saving that much to be an onerous task - and for good reason. Thankfully, you have a lot of options right at your fingertips, if you are adequately prepared.
Federal Financial Aid
The first task you should accomplish is to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form goes over the student’s financial situation and that of his/her parents. It's always a good idea to set aside some time with your teenager to complete this form together. The government expects that you will contribute to your teenager’s college education plans. Before you fill out the application, have these documents handy:
- Social Security number
- Federal tax returns and income information for all parties (student and parents)
- Records of any other income
- Bank statements
To make the process easier, the U.S. Department of Education allows you to obtain a PIN number that you and your student can use to sign documents electronically. It can take a few days to receive your pin, so you will want to request one in advance. The FAFSA process will determine if your student will be eligible for all federal grants (and some college grants), which are funds for education that you do not have to pay back. Even if s/he is not, the federal government offers a number of student loans. Your child may be eligible for subsidized loans, which accrue no interest as long as s/he is registered with a minimum number of units. But there are also unsubsidized loans, available for students and their parents.
Non-Federal Financial Aid
Some colleges also require that you complete a College Scholarship Services (CSS) PROFILE or an institutional financial aid form. The PROFILE is administered by the College Board, and is intended to give greater information to private institutions about your finances. The CSS profile application requires more detailed information than the FAFSA, with specifics about income and expenses for both students and their parents. You will need all the information you readied for the FAFSA, and also some data about how you plan to file for the current year. The benefit to completing a CSS profile is that you can use a single form to apply for non-federal financial aid and scholarships from over 400 various colleges and universities. The CSS profile does charge a fee. It is $25 to complete the profile and send it to one college or university of your choice. If you request a report sent to any subsequent colleges or universities, the cost is $16 and may be elected at any time.
These major national systems are the easiest way to open up the world of financial aid for you and your student. But do not forget to look locally. For the schools your child selected for applications, arrange to speak to a counselor or a financial aid administrator. They may know of scholarships and grants that are local to the community or the school itself. They may also be able to make specific recommendations based on your student’s demographic and school record.
Whenever you have questions about obtaining financial aid for your teenager, you should always ask for help. Visit the College Planning Center of Rhode Island for more information and advice for your family.
When it comes to getting an education that prepares you for career success, colleges in Rhode Island have programs that will position you at the top. They feature highly-rated curriculums in some of the more in-demand fields of today, providing a solid foundation for your future. Here are some options to consider if you’re applying to college in Rhode Island.
- As a member of the prestigious Ivy League, Brown University has long maintained a reputation for academic innovation and excellence. It’s no surprise that in the cutting-edge field of Computer Science they regularly rank in the top 20 national programs. Their multidisciplinary approach allows students to select concentrations in related areas such as economics and computational biology. Thanks to Brown’s unique emphasis on research, undergraduates have unparalleled opportunities to participate and even co-author papers. Their Women in Computer Science group features mentoring and outreach programs to increase female participation.
- Right next door to Brown is Rhode Island School of Design with its highly acclaimed Fine Arts program. Majors are available on undergrad and graduate levels in a variety of media including film/animation/video, photography and sculpture. Students participate in internships with high-profile, creative organizations such as Google, Disney, Martha Stewart, Cartoon Network, and Museum of Modern Art. The school also has a reciprocal arrangement with their neighbor wherein students may cross-register for classes and have access to Brown’s academic and athletic facilities. RISD has an enviable job placement rate, with 96 percent of alumni finding employment within a year of graduating.
- Established in 1854 as a normal school, Rhode Island College has grown into a comprehensive institution but still maintains its excellent School of Education and Human Development. The program has been accredited by the National Council of Accreditation of Teacher Education since 1954, most recently confirmed in 2012. Degree programs cover the entire spectrum from elementary and secondary to specialized areas such as technology, art and music. If college costs are a factor for you, approximately 70 percent of incoming RIC freshmen have been awarded need-based aid. In recent years students completing the program here have had a 100 percent success rate in passing state licensing tests.
- If you’ve already decided on a career path, you may feel right at home at Johnson & Wales University. Students begin taking courses in their chosen major immediately, rather than spending their first two years exploring options as is the case at many liberal arts schools. As food-related careers have become more popular and sophisticated, the spotlight has focused on their College of Culinary Arts. Celebrity chefs and television stars Emeril Lagasse, Tyler Florence and Chris Cosentino received their training at JWU. The program also incorporates a multidisciplinary approach enabling students to develop their business and management skills.
Whether your dreams include one of these fields or other areas of study, our state's colleges have a program that can help you achieve them. The College Planning Center can offer free guidance in considering all your options, including scholarships in Rhode Island. Make your appointment today.
- A business degree can open doors to a multitude of career options. Bryant University’s College of Business has been ranked in the top ten percent of accredited schools by Bloomberg Business Week. Five departments offer concentrations in fields such as accounting and computer information systems, while the recently instituted major in global supply chain management prepares students for the exciting and competitive international marketplace.
Yesterday, the College Board released its annual Trends in Higher Education series, providing information on student financial aid, tuition, and other higher education expenses in three reports: Trends in College Pricing, Trends in Student Aid, and Education Pays.
Trends in College Pricing
The Trends in College Pricing report provides information on trends in undergraduate tuition and fees, room and board, and other expenses with data through 2013-14. Key findings include:
- "The 2.9% increase in in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions in 2013-14 followed increases of 4.5% in 2012-13 and 8.5% in 2011-12 and was the smallest percentage increase in over 30 years.
- Among full-time undergraduates at public and private nonprofit four-year institutions, the median published tuition and fee price in 2013-14 is $11,093.
- Because of increases in aid, the average net price for full-time in-state public four-year college students was $650 lower (in 2013 dollars) in 2009-10 than it was in 2008-09. However, between 2009-10 and 2013-14, average net price increased from $1,940 (in 2013 dollars) to about $3,120.
- Between 2010 and 2011, enrollment grew by 123,000 (2%) in the public four-year sector and by 66,000 (2%) in the private nonprofit four-year sector. Enrollment in public two-year colleges was 159,000 (2%) lower in 2011 than it had been the previous year; it was 68,000 (3%) lower in the for-profit sector.
- Average incomes for families in the middle quintile and above increased between 2011 and 2012, but real incomes remained lower (after adjusting for inflation) at all levels of the income distribution than they had been in 2002.”
Trends in Student Aid
The Trends in Student Aid report provides information on grant aid, loans, tax benefits, Federal Work-Study Assistance, and examines changes in funding levels and distribution over time. Key findings include:
- "In 2012-13, undergraduate students received 52% of their funding in the form of grants, 39% as loans (including nonfederal loans), and 9% in a combination of tax credits or deductions and Federal Work-Study. For graduates, these percentages were 30%, 64%, and 6%, respectively.
- Total education borrowing fell by 6% in real terms between 2011-12 and 2012-13.
- Total federal student loans and parent loans plus nonfederal loans had declined by 2% between 2010-11 and 2011-12.
- Total borrowing from the federal Direct Loan program fell by 3% ($2.9 billion) in 2011-12 and by another 7% ($6.5 billion) in 2012-13. Total borrowing from the PLUS program for parents of undergraduate students fell by 11% ($13 billion) over these two years.
- In 2012-13, undergraduate borrowers took federal loans averaging $6,760, while graduate students borrowed an average of $17,230.
- Nonfederal education loans grew from an estimated $10.5 billion (in 2012 dollars) in 2002-03 to $25.5 billion in 2007-08. Since then, student loan volume from banks, credit unions, states, and institutions has declined to about $8.8 billion.
- The percentage of undergraduate students taking private education loans fell from 14% in 2007-08 to 6% in 2011-12; the percentage of graduate students relying on this source f funds fell from 11% to 4%.
- About 60% of students who earned bachelor's degrees in 2011-12 from the public and private nonprofit institutions at which they began their studies graduated with debt. They borrowed an average of $26,500.
- In 2012, 40% of borrowers with outstanding education debt owed less than $10,000 and another 30% owed between $10,000 and $25,000; 4% of borrowers owed $100,000 or more. This debt increased borrowing for both undergraduate and graduate studies.
- In 2013, 1.6 million federal Direct Loan borrowers were in repayment plans that limit their payments to a specified percentage of their incomes. These borrowers constituted 11% of those in repayment plans, and they held 22% of the total outstanding debt in repayment plans.
- By September 11, 2012, 10% of borrowers who entered repayment in 2010-11 had defaulted on their federal student loans. This was the highest two-year cohort default rate in FY 1995, but the default rates were 21% and 22% in 1989 and 1990, respectively.
- In 2012-13, 49% of all student aid was in the form of grants—the highest percentage over the past decade. In 2008-09, 44% of student aid was grant aid.
The number of students receiving Pell Grants increased from 4.0 million in 1992-93 to 4.8 million in 2002-03 and to 8.8 million in 2012-13.”
The Education Pays report examines the ways in which individuals and society benefit from higher education, providing information on earnings and employment patterns, financial benefits, and indicators of well-being. In addition, the College Board released, "How College Shapes Lives: Understanding the Issues,” which builds on information presented in Education Pays. Key findings from each include:
- "Median earnings of bachelor's degree recipients with no advanced degree working full time in 2011 were $56,500, $21,100 more than median earnings of high school graduates. Individuals with some college but no degree earned 14% more than high school graduates working full time. Their median after-tax earnings were 13% higher.
The 2012 unemployment rate for four-year college graduates ages 25 to 34 was 7.1 percentage points below that for high school graduates. The unemployment rates for those with associate degrees and with some college but no degree were 4.0 and 1.6 percentage points below that for high school graduates, respectively.
- Educational attainment rates are increasing, but college completion rates and attainment patterns differ considerably across demographic groups.
- Postsecondary education relies more on private funding in the U.S. than in most other developed countries.
- Relatively few students actually borrow excessive amounts to fund their undergraduate education, and the majority of students have earnings that allow them to repay their debts.
- The reality that many students enroll but do not complete credentials is central to understanding the costs and benefits of postsecondary education. On average, while there is high payoff to completion, even ‘some college' generates financial benefits."
Source: College Board and Education Financial Council, EFC Exchange, 10/23/2013
College planning for parents is one of the most important parts of being a parent in today's world. An education can equip your child for the next step in life, and should be seen as an investment. That being said, there are some tips every parent should keep in mind while looking for last minute ways to save for college. Here are some ways you can save money and help give your child the education he/she needs.
1. Rethink schooling options - If you cannot afford to send your child to an expensive private school, then don't. Each school has its own strengths, and a schoole choice should be made based on career ambitions and learning needs.
2. Take advantage of Stafford loans - Every family should take advantage of low-interest Stafford loans. These loans are specially tailored to make college more affordable. The Stafford loan does not require "means testing" which means that a family is eligible whether it makes $200,000 or $30,000 dollars a year. However, whether you receive a subsidized or unsubsidized version will depend on your family's financial need. Stafford loans usually have lower interest rates than private loans, at a rate of 3.86% this year. More importantly there is no out of pocket costs to the student or the parents.
3. Use American Opportunity Tax Credit - If your family has an income of less than $160,000 per year, or $80,000 if filing as a single person, you can get a $2,500 tax credit for things like school supplies, equipment, and books. This is really great because this things are not necessarily covered in the cost of tuition.
4. Compare your alternative loan options, if you need one - Taking out a loan my seem less than ideal, but it is still a viable option for many people. Be careful when you look at these loans since they could have variable rates, which means the interest rate could spike. However, several state-based programs are available with low fixed rates and flexible terms.
5. Apply for scholarships - Many scholarship deadlines are not until just a few weeks before the semester starts. This could be the best unexpected part of college planning for parents since some scholarships could cover up to half or more of a year's tuition (depending on the scholarship and where your child attend college) or at least the cost of living expenses and books. Make sure your student applies to as many scholarships as possible. The worst thing that can happen is he or she will get denied.
Follow this five simple tips and you will be able to save money, but more important, you will have the peace of mind knowing that your student is taken care of financially and intellectually.
There are many misconceptions floating around out there about college scholarships. For example, you don't have to be a perfect, straight-A student to get one. In fact, many scholarships in Rhode Island are specifically designed for students with unique gifts, talents and interests. To help inspire you as you begin your own college scholarship quests, we thought we would share some of the five strangest scholarships we've come across, just to reassure you that many scholarship and grant supporters are interested in more than just brains and academic talent.
- Adele Sheila Landesberg Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Psychiatric Nursing. Rule Number 1 when scholarships hunting: Look for scholarships surrounding your areas of academic interest. As this scholarship fund indicates, sometimes what you want to do is weighted more heavily than what you have done thus far. If you're interested in attending the University of Rhode Island-Kingston, and are interested in Psychiatric Nursing, this is the scholarship for you.
- Scholarships for Animal Activism. Rule Number 2: Identify grants and scholarships handed out to students who share your passions and interests. For example, the Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship is given to New England students who have demonstrated, "a deep respect for animals and people in achieving their dreams of working in the service of animals." Does that sound like you or someone you know? There's $2,500 just waiting to be handed over.
- Sophomores and Juniors in College. Rule Number 3: Don't give up on the idea of scholarships just because you aren't a freshman anymore. While it's true that most scholarships are handed out to freshman or returning students, some scholarships in Rhode Island are designed to help students who are already enrolled in school. Perhaps their donors recognized that it can be tougher to finance college expenses the further along you get, or maybe they wanted to make sure the recipients were truly dedicated to the collegiate experience. Either way, the Paul H. Conway Memorial Scholarship is designated for Rhode Island Residents who are current College of Arts and Science Undergraduates, with at least 24-completed credits under their belts. Are you a sophomore or junior in college? Go get your $3000 and breathe a sigh of relief.
- Calling All Duck Callers. Rule Number 4: Don't discount your crazy, wacky party tricks or the old-school talents your grandpa taught you when you used to go duck hunting. There really are scholarships for every kind of student. The Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest awards scholarships to graduating seniors who can, well, call ducks! Granted, you will have to make your way to Stuttgart, Arkansas to participate, the winnings are pretty impressive. There are four scholarship prizes, ranging from $2000 to $500. Happy quacking!
- Obsessed with Duct Tape? Rule Number 5: It never hurts to get creative! We all know that duct tape can fix everything, but who knew it could even fix your collegiate financial conundrum too? The Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest is sponsored by Duck® Brand Duct Tape. You have to be a high school student (you can apply for this one before your senior year!), and attend a school sanctioned prom. Then, you have to wear full-prom attire, made almost exclusively from Duck® Brand duct tape. The grand prize is $5000 dollars, as well as a $5000 donation made directly to the winner's school. If you enter this one, we would love to see your finished product(s)!
Searching for scholarships in Rhode Island should be an inspiring process. If you do your research, and enlist the right scholarship search help, the world of college financing will be your oyster.
College financial aid is an important factor in many students' ability to attend their institutions of choice and it's really never too early to start the process with advanced preparation and proper planning. Financial aid is available from many sources, including the federal government, state programs, individual colleges and universities, and many private entities. Here are some of the most common mistakes that could cost you getting financial aid.
1. Assuming you won't qualify for aid.
One common mistake you definitely shouldn't make is to assume that your current financial situation disqualifies you from receiving college financial aid. Not all student aid programs are based on financial need. Also, federal financial aid eligibility is a complicated formula that takes into account student earnings, parent earnings, student and parent assets, age of oldest parent and number of children attending college. The only way you will know for sure if you qualify is to apply.
2. Missing deadlines
Missing required deadlines is an avoidable mistake that's all too common, especially if you're filling out numerous forms to a variety of financial aid sources. Missing application deadlines will automatically put you out of the running for a particular financial aid program even though you may qualify. The first step along the way to securing college financial aid is to complete an FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This is a requirement in qualifying for any of the various federal programs but, even if you don't qualify for federal assistance, chances are good that any school or state funded programs will also rely on your FAFSA in their financial awards granting process. The FAFSA can be submitted beginning on January first for the upcoming school year. One mistake frequently made is waiting too long to complete this initial step of the process. Waiting too long and then rushing the process at the end will make committing errors more likely and, if time runs out due to delays, you may miss out entirely on certain financial aid until next year. Check with your school to see if they require additional forms for financial aid, such as the CSS Profile and beware of those deadlines as well.
3. Not correcting errors on your FAFSA.
It's not uncommon for applicants to make some errors in filling out this form, leading to delays and, sometimes, disqualification. You have a chance to correct these errors when you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR), a few weeks after submitting the FAFSA. Make sure you review it carefully and submit corrections promptly.
4. Skipping questions on the FAFSA.
The FAFSA can be filled out online and is made simpler by now being linked to the IRS for ease in compiling the necessary tax information required for entry onto the form. This is a fairly lengthy form, containing more than 100 questions, and all questions must be completed in order for the FAFSA to be accepted. One common mistake is in leaving the answer to a question blank. If you see a question that doesn't apply to you or to which the answer is "zero," make sure you enter a "0" in that space.
5. Not applying for private scholarships.
Every year many college financial aid grants and scholarships go unclaimed due to too few applicants. Don't make the mistake of believing that financial aid resources are too limited or that the competition is too stiff. You may think that college scholarships only apply to those with remarkable academic ability, athletic prowess or high test scores but, in fact, there are many financial aid sources for which you may qualify that are unique (and even weird). Left-handers, duck-callers, men taller than 6'2" or women 5'10" or more in height, those who can speak "Klingon" or have the unusual last name of Van Valkenburg each have access to scholarship money for which they may quality. There are hundreds like these out there.
The mistake made by many prospective college students is to avoid doing the necessary research to discover every means of financial aid available to them. If you need money for college there may be dozens of sources for which you qualify but haven't uncovered. Start early in your search for these sources and be thorough. The Internet is a great tool for finding what's out there just waiting for you.
One of the least enjoyable parts about college planning is deciding what college your child will attend. Conventional wisdom suggests the person paying the bill should have the final say. But the person who must endure the actual college experience, the child, should have some say as well. So, how do you even begin weighing this delicate matter?
In an ideal fantasy world, all college age children would score full scholarships to the Ivy League and America's other top rated universities. As is, many parents must reconcile themselves and their children to certain realities, the cost of tuition, college selectivity, and the limits of financial aid among them.
Yes, everyone deserves to explore the dream of obtaining higher education. But at the same time, the financial reality of doing so is inescapable.
Before frank discussions about the feasibility of one institution over another can take place, better to speak plainly about the many things most colleges and universities have in common.
For example, a respected city or state school will provide a very similar core curriculum as at, say, Yale University. English (no one escapes Freshman Composition, except for those at the few schools without a core curriculum!), Math, perhaps another humanities class, and a sort of Intro To College Life class.
Most colleges offer an Intro To College Life. They are a study skills and positive thinking, life management mash-up that is typically mandatory. Occasionally, even this credit is transferable though its value depreciates across institutions.
Beyond undergrad, grad schools look at a variety of qualities, but primarily undergrad GPA, GRE scores, recommendation letters and the prospective student's personal statement/essay and/or interview. So whether your child attends a fancy, expensive college - maybe one that requires you to take on a lot of debt- is, sorry to say, not always relevant.
Beyond college, work force recruiters and grad school boards don't care always what university or college name is on your child's diploma. Often times, they just want to see your child has one, and that they show motivation and work-readiness.
What is most important at the undergrad level is maximizing whatever academic/experiential opportunities a given university offers. Participation in government, groups, extracurricular activities, challenging coursework, independent research—this is what creates standout undergrad resumes. These kinds of opportunities are available at just about any college.
Bear this in mind before letting your child get hung up on one college and only one. During your college planning, have backup institutions on your master college list: Options B, C, D, etc.
And during your assessment, don't forget to consider that every family is potentially eligible for financial aid, grants and scholarships. Factor this possibility into your suggestions (look for the "Net Price Calculator" at each institution's financial aid page online to get an idea of what the college will cost a family like yours after financial aid) and use it to compromise with your child about college options.
If your child thinks attending an expensive school that you received little financial from is worth taking out a bunch of loans, ask them "who will repay those loans?" Explain what repaying college costs entails long term and make sure that they understand what their potential salary and monthly payments might be after college. Then help your child to make the wisest, most practical choice both you and they can live with.
College planning doesn't have to be agonizing. When you add up college costs, available aid, and other corresponding fees, and when you consider the difference in numbers between multiple schools, the final decision often becomes obvious and easy for you and your child.
To help with details, utilize the many online calculators and college prep resources available. Start today.