Question: My son is a senior in high school trying to decide which college he should attend. He plans to get his undergraduate degree in computer science and engineering. He’s been accepted at four schools, among which there is a large difference in cost. How can I help him decide why he should choose one school over the others?
Answer: While deciding which college to attend is a personal decision and depends on individual needs and circumstances, these guidelines may help to inform the process for your son:
First, consider the reputation of the college, and more specifically, the program you’re interested in. Does the college you’re considering have a strong reputation in your specialty? Do employers respect it and hire its graduates? Sit in on a couple of classes when you tour the college to get a sense of the caliber of the faculty.
Consider the overall cost. What is affordable for you? Balance the cost with the desire for the best program. If the cost of certain colleges is prohibitive, it’s definitely possible to get a quality education from less prestigious and less expensive schools.
Explore the entire campus experience. Are there extracurricular activities that match your interests? What’s your impression of the location and atmosphere? Are the current students people you’d like to go to school with? Be sure to visit the campus and talk to other students before you make a final decision.
Combining an assessment of the quality of the education with first-hand knowledge of the college environment should yield a decision that provides a fit for your academic and personal preferences.How to Find the School That's Perfect for You by Andrew Ostler