I know that college affordability is a big concern for families today. Parents want to make sure they are getting the most value for their investment. However, I do get concerned when I hear a parent say, “I don’t know how eager I am to pay for a college with a name that I have not heard of.” Surely, they must know that there are many wonderful schools besides those those that everyone has heard of. But do they?
One thing parents need to understand is that many colleges that are not well known are very fine, highly respected schools. They provide excellent educations and also frequently award merit scholarships for high achieving students. They can make college affordable, whereas prestigious, well known institutions may not be able to do so.
As a private college counselor, I truly believe that it is not the name of the school, but what a student gains from the college experience that will make a difference in the future. Many wonderful lesser-known schools provide close relationships with professors who go on to become mentors. Students often can participate in research opportunities at an undergraduate level and are in classes that focus more on discussion than just lecture.
Families need to broaden their college horizons and look at a wide variety of schools that will fit their child academically, financially, and personally. Also, check the graduation rates and look for schools committed to seeing their students graduate in four years.