College Preparation & Planning

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Criteria to Picking the Right College

What is the graduation rate for your school?
Students should know the graduation rate for their school before selecting it, including by race/ethnicity, and Pell grant status. Currently, College Results Online shares the former, but the federal government does not track Pell grant graduation rates, requiring students to request this number from each institution where they plan to apply.

Is your college the best match for you academically?School admission criteria (academic match). Students are more likely to graduate when they attend a school where they are with their academic peers, based on GPA and SAT/ACT scores.  Talk to an admissions officer to find out more about specifics on admissions and makeup of your class.

Is your college the best financial fit your your income?
Net price by family income (financial fit). It is important for students to know not only the net price of an institution, but what that net price is for their family's economic quintile. Many low-income students still think college is out of reach based solely on the cost.

Are graduates from your school of choice defaulting on their loans?
Cohort loan default rate (financial fit). Another helpful aspect of financial fit is the number of students who have not defaulted on their loans three years after graduating or leaving school.

If graduates from your school of choice are not paying their loans back, it may be an indicator they are not able to secure a career post graduation.  Another great way to see if students from your school of choice are entering the workplace is to visit your campus career assistance office.  They are there to ask questions!

Is your college a good fit for you socially?
Student body profile(social fit). The profile of the student body (age, race, income, part time/full time), and size of the study body are also helpful.

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