How to Define Value When It Comes to Your College Decision
Each spring, high school seniors face one of the biggest decisions and financial investments they will make in their lives: where to go to college. Many factors make up this decision to ensure the college choice is the right academic, social and financial fit.
At Emmanuel, the Office of Student Financial Services partners with students and their families to help guide them through the college financial options to make the student’s educational goals attainable. We also encourage students to consider all the distinct advantages a college offers beyond the sticker price. To truly determine which option stands out from the pack, it’s the concept of “value” that is most important.
Of course, value can mean something different to each of us. While some tend to associate the word simply with the numbers that follow the dollar sign, when it comes to your college education and ultimately, real-world success, it’s worth diving deeper beyond the surface to ensure you’re visualizing the full picture.
Here are a few questions I recommend prospective students and their families consider as part of the college decision process:
Will X college position you for success?
In an ever-changing world where adaptable real-world skills are constantly evolving, higher education institutions need to adapt right alongside it. Be sure that your college of interest is continuing to transform itself through the development of relevant 21st century academic programs and curriculums that sharpen the skills you’ll need for tomorrow’s workforce.
A college’s location is also essential in impacting your development. In fact, when it comes to your investment, it’s the location that can pay dividends. Partnerships with major organizations will be your foot in the door for internships, research opportunities and potential careers. Pay attention to how a college nurtures these employer relationships, too. A college that continues to develop such connections is one that has your best interest and future success in mind.
Will X college help you venture beyond your comfort zone with guidance and support?
A college campus will become your home away from home for the next few years. It’s important to select a place where you not only feel comfortable, but feel comfortable learning and growing. A key to this growth will be whether your college of choice offers you the opportunity to develop a network of meaningful connections with faculty members and peers who will come to know and value you as a unique individual. A supportive community of mentors and champions will set a tone for your personal and academic journey that is truly priceless.
Will X college provide you a foundation for a life of leadership and purpose?
Beyond the classroom, the opportunities available to you during college will help shape the person you become. Whether it is in the form of campus traditions or community service, select a college that challenges you to lead, act and give generously. A school eager to help you expand your horizons in this regard is one that cares about impacting the future and shaping tomorrow’s leaders.