Welcome! Login | Register
 

Best November Events in New England—'Tis officially the holiday season now that Halloween…

Monfredo: State of the School Address: A Celebration of Accomplishments and Vision for the Future—There is no greater asset in this city…

Finneran: Too Old, Too White, Too Male To Understand….—why parents would allow their young children---girls specifically---to…

Friday Financial Five – October 31st, 2014—Two positive developments this week include

The Cellar: Wines That Get Better With Time—Invest now and enjoy later....

Worcester Sharks Lose 3-4 to Portland Pirates—The Worcester Sharks (4-2-1-0, 9pts) fell to 2-2-1-0…

See Halloween Band Bash at the Worcester PopUp With Your Woo Card—Let Us WOO You Week of October 30th

Pulitzer-Winning Poet Laureate Trethewey to Speak at Clark—Pulitzer Prize-winner and recent U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha…

Auburn and Greendale Mall to Host Halloween Events—Auburn Mall and Greendale Mall will celebrate Halloween…

Central Mass Grown Receives $60,000 Grant—The Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission and the…

 
 

College Admissions: How To Keep From Choosing The Wrong College

Monday, April 07, 2014

 

It's nothing to laugh at--decision season is coming up and you don't want to choose the wrong college.

The "National Reply By Date" is just a few weeks away on May 1. Anxious seniors and their parents are scrambling, often confused as to how to make a decision among several colleges in a short amount of time.While a “gut feeling” based

on a campus information session and tour is one good factor to consider, there is other information that needs to be considered. Don’t jump before you look carefully. This is one of the most important decisions and largest financial investments, you will ever make. Here are some key things to review.

Beware of Student Gossip

The old adage “bad news travels faster than good news” is especially true with regard to colleges. Be wary of online sites that host bitter student reviews. Few happy students have the time or the inclination to go on and post a positive review. Also, take the gossip in your high school or neighborhood with a grain of salt when someone leaves a college. Look instead at the overall statistics; do not make a judgment based on one individual. For a great guide centered around hundreds of student surveys and interviews, I recommend The Insider's Guide to the Colleges by The Yale Daily News. It only reviews about 300 colleges and universities in the country, but it does a terrific job of giving insight into campus life, course rigor, professor access and the surrounding community.

Spend the Night

I highly recommend that students do an overnight visit at their top choice colleges before making a final decision. The admissions office at most smaller colleges will help facilitate this, but at larger institutions, you may need to network with friends and family to find an existing student to host you for the night. Go to classes on a Friday and then check out the “on campus” and “off campus” social scene. This real life experience will give you a valuable feel for the flavor of the student body and the quality of the classes and professors.

Majors and Courses

Some seniors will have a good idea of what they want to major in. If so, take a deeper dive into the courses offered, professor credentials, and internships or research opportunities. Remember that course catalogs are VERY deceiving. They usually contain every course taught in the last 5 years (or that may be taught in the next 5 years). It does not mean that those courses are taught every year. For a more accurate understanding of the classes that you will have to choose from in your major, call the department and ask for a course list for this year and next year. If you are a student who is undecided on a major, carefully consider the breadth of offerings at your potential colleges and make sure they line up with your interests.

Review the Data

There are some important statistics that parents and students should review before choosing a college. These are readily available on Web sites like www.collegeboard.com or www.collegedata.com. The first one that I look at is “students returning for sophomore year” - this is a key indicator of how happy students are at a college and the support they receive. If a college has below a 70% return rate, I get concerned. The next data point I suggest you review is the “4 year graduation rate”. While nationally this is quite low (many students take 5-6 years to graduate), you should know what the likelihood is that your costs will extend beyond 4 years. Another item that can be important to students who wish to pursue an advanced degree is “percent of students going on to graduate school”. The one published statistic that I find suspicious is “percent of students finding full-time employment within 12 months of graduation." Given the poor economy, I think the high numbers reported by many schools are hard to swallow. Lastly, families should investigate the economic health of a college, including the endowment fund and state of the physical campus. In 2010, approximately 150 colleges in the U.S. failed the US Department of Education’s test of financial stability.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com

 

Related Slideshow: Central MA Colleges & Universities with the Highest Student Debt

Seven in 10 college seniors (71%) who graduated last year had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower, according to a new report released by the Institute for College Access and Success.

According to the Institute’s Project on Student Debt, the average student debt in Massachusetts is $28,460, but what about the state's individual institutions? Check out the slides below to see the average debt graduates are accruing at colleges and universities in Central Massachusetts. (Not all schools self-reported student debt; if not, they are not in the slideshow). 

Note: All data is based on four-year or above institutions for students graduating in the 2011-2012 academic year. Worcester Polytechnic and University of Massachusetts Medical School are not included in the data below, because they did not report the average debt of their graduates.

Prev Next

#7 Worcester State Univ.

Average Student Debt: $20,449

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 74%

Non-Federal Debt, Percent of Total Debt of Graduates: 20%

Bachelor's Degree Recipients: 861

Full-time Enrollment Fall 2011: 3,901

In-State Tuition and Fees: $7,653

Total Cost of Attendance: $21,585

Percent Pell Grant Recipients: 21%

Prev Next

#6 Clark University

Average Student Debt: $25,175

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 91%

Non-Federal Debt, Percent of Total Debt of Graduates: 15%

Bachelor's Degree Recipients: 539

Full-time Enrollment Fall 2011: 2,218

In-State Tuition and Fees: $37,350

Total Cost of Attendance: $46,200

Percent Pell Grant Recipients: 20%

Prev Next

#5 Holy Cross

Average Student Debt: $26,567

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 55%

Non-Federal Debt, Percent of Total Debt of Graduates: 16%

Bachelor's Degree Recipients: 692

Full-time Enrollment Fall 2011: 2,872

In-State Tuition and Fees: $41,488

Total Cost of Attendance: $54,358

Percent Pell Grant Recipients: 16%

Prev Next

#4 Nichols College

Average Student Debt: $30,890

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 89%

Non-Federal Debt, Percent of Total Debt of Graduates: 29%

Bachelor's Degree Recipients: 278

Full-time Enrollment Fall 2011: 1,116

In-State Tuition and Fees: $30,400

Total Cost of Attendance: $43,315

Percent Pell Grant Recipients: 34%

Prev Next

#3 Assumption College

Average Student Debt: $34,579

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 81%

Non-Federal Debt, Percent of Total Debt of Graduates: 29%

Bachelor's Degree Recipients: 485

Full-time Enrollment Fall 2011: 2,090

In-State Tuition and Fees: $32,545

Total Cost of Attendance: $45,830

Percent Pell Grant Recipients: 18%

Prev Next

#2 Becker College

Average Student Debt: $44,596

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 95%

Non-Federal Debt, Percent of Total Debt of Graduates: 33%

Bachelor's Degree Recipients: 239

Full-time Enrollment Fall 2011: 1,400

In-State Tuition and Fees: $28,490

Total Cost of Attendance: $42,710

Percent Pell Grant Recipients: 48%

Prev Next

#1 Anna Maria College

Average Student Debt: $49,206

Percent of Graduates with Debt: 86%

Non-Federal Debt, Percent of Total Debt of Graduates: 39%

Bachelor's Degree Recipients: 165

Full-time Enrollment Fall 2011: 803

In-State Tuition and Fees: $29,860

Total Cost of Attendance: $42,930

Percent Pell Grant Recipients: 38%

 
 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.