Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ask Isa: 10 things to help you pick the best transfer university for you

From the Ask Isa inbox:

Dear Isa,

I'm in a pickle...I am in community college and am getting ready to transfer in the next year and am undecisive on which school to go to. One school I would like to go to because its cheaper and the other, if money were not an option, I would definitely go to. Your thoughts?



Dear Undecided,

There is not an easy answer to this question, and in the end only you can decide what is best for you. However, doing your research and asking for as much advice as possible will ensure you make the choice that will best help you reach your goals. 

College is the best investment you can make in yourself, so when it comes to taking out loans to pay for college, I think it can be beneficial if you have done your research and know that the benefits you will receive from attending that particular college are worth taking out loans for.

Here are some questions to ask yourself. I recommend writing down your answers:

(Let's call the cheaper college College A and the expensive college College B.) 

1) Why do I really want to go to College B? 
2) What benefits does College B offer me that College A cannot offer?
2a) Are those the type of benefits that could lead me closer to my goals? 
3) How much in loans would I have to take out to attend College A? Would the type of job I'm pursuing help me pay those back easily? 
4) Does College A offer important alumni connections to my desired industry that College B does not? 
5) Are there any benefits of College A, aside from being inexpensive, that I'm overlooking? 

Next, here are some things I highly recommend you do:

1) Check out the tools in LinkedIn Education and research the college's you're considering in relation to the careers people have after they've graduated from each. Compare. 
2) Reach out to alumni at College A and College B and ask if you can e-mail them a few questions or speak with them on the phone for a few minutes. Choose people who have a career you would aspire to. Ask them about their college experience and any advice they might have for you in making your choice. People love to mentor and share advice. 
3) Schedule a tour of each campus and pay close attention to the benefits of each. Bring lots of questions to ask the tour guide. 
4) Ask admissions officers at each college about all of the scholarship options. Sometimes students shy away from expensive or prestigious schools because they assume they can't afford it, when sometimes those are the schools that offer the best packages to students with great potential and great financial need. 
5) Apply to both schools and don't make your final decision until you receive the financial aid package for each. If you've done all the research above, once you get the packages you'll know what the best decision will be for you.

Best of luck and congratulations on your upcoming transfer!

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