Higher education is an investment of both time and money. You want to make sure that what you put into it pays of in the form of a rewarding career. The good news is, you do not have to go to the most expensive school to receive the highest quality of education. This article will provide you with tips on how to choose an affordable school that will also help you meet your needs.
Consider Community College
Regardless of what you want to study, you can fulfill your general education requirements at a community college. Community colleges tuition is much cheaper than four-year universities, but they offer the same general education courses. This is because they are smaller institutions and therefore cheaper to maintain. Many exceptional instructors prefer to teach at community colleges, because they prefer the smaller class sizes and flexibility, and/or they are not interested in researching. If you only need an Associate’s Degree or Certificate to obtain your dream job, community colleges are ideal.
Moreover, admissions officials at four-year universities are more interested in admitting successful junior-level transfer applicants, rather than entry-level freshman applicants. Transfer students show higher rates of retention, because they have already proven their ability to succeed in a college setting. If your goal is to receive a Bachelor’s degree or beyond, research the transfer counseling programs at community colleges. A strong transfer assistance program means a higher quality of education.
- Visit websites like “Rate My Professor to learn about former students’ interactions with individual instructors.
- Research faculty and school administrators on LinkedIn to learn about their qualifications and experience.
- Thoroughly investigate a school’s website for the presence of active student organizations and honor societies. If there are many of them, it means that school is committed to enhancing student success.
- Sign up for a campus tour, and and email instructors and counselors to set up interviews. Networking is something you must do to make the most of your education, so you might as well start now.
Find Out What You Are Paying For
Expensive schools are usually sought-after because they specialize in a particular area. If you have your heart set on a school because of its notoriety, find out if it is known for something that will benefit you specifically. If not, then it probably is not worth the extra cost. Additionally, it is important to consider the correlation between prestige, cost, and quality education.
Read Job Posts
Think of a job that you want. Search for job postings that match it. Read the minimum qualifications and requirements sections of the post. This will tell you what kind of degree you need and if it needs to be from a school with a particular accreditation. Determine whether degree or previous experience is more important.
Remember that the majority of your success lies in how much you apply yourself at whatever school you choose. In the eyes of most future employers, involvement in extracurricular activities related to your career goals and excellent letters of recommendation easily outweigh the cost of the school you attended.
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