What College is the Best Fit For You?

Emily Nilsson

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    Many times, American teenagers are told they have to go to college in order to have a quality future. If this is true, then what college is the best for you?

    It is often alluded to that the most prestigious and expensive schools are the best ones, and the ones that give you the most options. But is that really the case for everyone?

 

Rankings and Starting Salaries

    When choosing a college, it is important to choose the one that is best suited for you. Everyone has different needs in a college, and these needs are represented in different ways in different schools. However, if you are looking for a well ranked school the top 19 colleges (as ranked by Forbes, “America’s Top Colleges”) are private not-for-profit colleges, the cheapest of which costs $ 61,160 per year.

    It seems as though these colleges will provide you with the best education, which can often provide very good opportunities when you enter the workforce. These private schools can oftentimes bring students to have the best possibility in salaries, and potential jobs.

    Public school grads earned just 80% of what private school grads earned: Public school seniors reported an average of $40,000 versus $50,000 for private universities and liberal arts colleges (Stephanie Wei, NerdWallet.)

    Grouping colleges by the same tiers of selectivity used in a popular college guidebook, Barron’s, the researchers found that alumni of the most selective colleges earned, on average, 40 percent more a year than those who graduated from the least selective public universities, as calculated 10 years after they graduated from high school (Jacques Steinberg, Is Going to an Elite College Worth the Cost?)

    Is this cost worth it for everyone, though? While a large salary may be the objective for some people in life, for others, the goal may be something different that has nothing to do with salary. They could long for a happy life, which may mean they have a smaller paycheck than others, and is not measurable in monetary gains.

 

Size and Diversity

    Many private schools are much smaller than public schools. If you are looking for a small student body, than a private school may be well suited for you. But if you long for a larger school, you should opt for a public school, which will give you more diversity and a larger student body.

    Many times, private colleges don’t offer as many degrees as public colleges. This is due to the fact that private colleges tend to have a much smaller student body, leading to a harder time maintaining a lot of majors.

    Also, if you are looking for more one-on-one learning with professors, private schools often beat public schools. They are more often able to connect more with their students, due to the fact that there are fewer of them, leading to more specialized learning plans for the individual students.

 

Athletics and Schedules

 If you are very passionate about sports, a public college may be a better option for you, due to the fact that bigger schools typically have better athletic programs. Private schools can have good athletic programs, just not as great as public schools, so don’t let a slight difference in athletics be the deciding factor of where you go to school.

    Additionally, the schedules are much more demanding at private schools, so if you are looking for a less demanding schedule and more time for yourself and fun activities, a public school may be the best option for you. This would allow you more time to spend with your friends and free of studying, which is a needed aspect for some students.  If you are a student with demanding social needs, a public school with a less demanding schedule will allow more time for a social life.

    When choosing a college, the most important thing to remember is to choose the one that best fits you as a student. Whether this means it is a private college- with its educational benefits and post-graduation salary benefits, but unfortunately high cost- or a public college- with its more manageable cost and social benefits but lower national rankings- it doesn’t matter, as long as it is the school that makes you happy and fits the criteria you are looking for in a school.

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