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Bentley on Bloomberg: How to Choose the College that’s Right for You
Acceptance letters are in, and it’s decision time for high school seniors making their final college pick. Most families choose a college based on majors, faculty-to-student ratios, student life and location. But more students and parents are also asking for information about job placement and financial outcomes.
According to the Princeton Review’s 2017 College Hopes & Worries Survey, more than 76 percent of respondents reported high levels of stress in making the final college decision - that’s 20 percent more than in 2003. The survey cites the rising cost of college as a major factor in contributing to parents’ and students’ application stress.
Bentley President Gloria Larson joined Bloomberg Radio’s Cory Johnson and guest experts to talk about which factors students and their families should focus on in the final weeks leading up to decision time so they can find the best college match and get the most out of their college experience.
Here are quotes from the show about how to choose the college that’s right for you:
Think about the return on your college investment
“Families can calculate a college’s return on investment by looking at their career placement rate, average graduating salary and loan default rate. In other words, are students getting jobs after graduation? Do the jobs pay well? And are the jobs good enough to pay off any remaining loans? According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, more than 40 percent of Americans who borrowed from the government’s main student-loan program are not making payments or are behind. At Bentley, 99 percent of our graduates have a job within six months of graduation or are planning to attend grad school. That’s a real point of pride for us.”
Look at a school’s retention rate
“One of the things I looked at in the college process with my own children was a school’s retention rate. Retention rate measures what percentage of students are coming back after freshman year. Nationally, this number is about 74 percent, so roughly 25 percent of students will end up transferring at some point in their college career. If you find out that a school has a low retention rate, that may be a red flag that the way a school portrays itself to students during the recruiting process is not exactly what students experience when they arrive.”
Assess the long-term impacts of financial aid packages
“At Friends Academy, financial aid is a subject that occurs with a limited number of students, and the discussions are not always easy. Often the question comes down to, “Is a particular institution worth the amount of debt that can be incurred?” A student may receive a “full ride” to a particular school, however that needs to be addressed keeping in mind a wide range of factors: Will the student’s choice of a school present a particular hardship for the family? Is there another school on the list that offers similar benefits, but may not be a student’s top choice? Families must try to understand what financial packages mean, and not just in the short term, but in the long term.”
Location matters more than you think
“I knew I wanted to go to school near a city, but I had no idea how important this would be in providing opportunities for internships and full-time jobs. If you go to school in or near a major city, you have direct access to the recruiting process at some of the country’s largest corporations. I was able to do all of my interviews in person, which I think was a major advantage. If students are interested in pursuing a career in business or know that their career will eventually lead them to a city, I would recommend considering a school that gives you easy access to these opportunities.”
When Brenden Botelho ‘20 and Jonny Boains ‘18 took internships in the Mass. Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, what was the biggest community problem to tackle? Adapting to climate change.