Well, the results are finally in, and our seniors have the college decisions they have long waited for in their hands. Each day, our office sees students who are wrestling with the choice among several different schools, each with their relative merits.
Students are weighing choices from prestige to cost to specialized academic programs all while trying to make sense of the input offered from parents, peers, their college counselors, and their community. As a parent of a graduating senior myself, our family has also evaluated these considerations, trying to determine the value of higher education.
Candidly, I believe higher education to be an indispensable good, regardless of a student's ultimate goal, although I recognize that each student and each family must deliberate carefully, particularly when the cost of attending said schools is frighteningly high. So, what is the value of higher education?
Particulars about potential earnings potential aside, each family must decide the value they place on individual schools, value that is many times associated with that family's values — whether it is overall cost, prestige, or specialized academic program. This is the time to dig deeply, to assess why a particular school may match a student and what that school may offer.
Many times, the higher priced, and often times more prestigious institution, is not necessarily the best match. Anyone questioning this may want to take a peek at Frank Bruni's Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be. Barring that, I urge students and families to think about their values and the schools where they (their son) have been admitted when making a final college decision.