A How-To on Assessing College Acceptance Offers
April is a notoriously stressful time for college-bound students and their parents. Each day is filled with anxious anticipation and constant mailbox monitoring, waiting for responses to college applications. For many, the elation of an acceptance letter is followed shortly thereafter by another difficult question to answer in the long, drawn-out college application process: Which college offer do I accept?
In a recent survey of more than 350 independent tutors conducted by WyzAnt.com, the nation’s largest online marketplace of private tutors, respondents were asked to comment on what they felt were the most important factors students and parents should consider when deciding among college acceptance offers. Possibly a reflection of the nation’s economic climate, the three most common responses included financial considerations.
Majors & Degrees Offered
According to Dr. Fritz Grupe, founder of MyMajors.com, 80% of college-bound students enter college without declaring a major. However, with the average tuition at four year institutions topping $22,000 per year according to the National Center for Education Statistics, that trend may be changing. Lauren Seeger, a recent college graduate and private tutor from Hesperia, CA, encourages students who are considering multiple schools to ask themselves, “Does this school offer the major (s) I want? “ An estimated 50% of students will change their major at least once while in school, a potential costly decision particularly if a school transfer is required to pursue a new degree. Students can save themselves time and money and avoid the hassle of transferring schools by considering the top two or three areas of study they’re most interested in pursuing, and verifying that their potential schools offer those courses. For students with a high level of uncertainty about their career and interests, a liberal arts school with a variety of programs may be the most appropriate option.
Tuition Cost & Financial Aid
In 2012, the average college student graduated with $27,253 in debt; that’s a 58% increase in student debt in just the last seven years! Earlier this year, Forbes reported that the number of parents taking on student loans has increased as well, up 75% since 2005. Considering the significance of the investment and the potential consequences for graduating with a large amount of debt, it’s impossible to ignore the cost of college when weighing a decision among accepted schools. Students and parents should inquire about financial aid options as well as available grants and scholarships students may be eligible for. A strong financial package with available grant opportunities can often tip the scales toward one school over another.
Career Services & Graduate Job Placement
A school’s career services and job placement reputation may be a more important consideration today than ever before. Bruce Neil, an independent high school math tutor in Oakwood, GA, explains that “a college degree no longer guarantees job placement after graduation,” and advises college students to “be prepared to change careers 2-3 times throughout the course of their working life.” The Center for College Affordability and Productivity reported that 48% of 2010 college graduates are currently working in jobs that require less than a bachelor’s degree. Before accepting an offer, students and parents should explore the school’s career resources and reputation for helping its students find quality jobs, and hopefully pay down some of that debt! The 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act requires schools to disclose job and graduate school placement statistics for their students. Additionally, students should contact career service offices and ask about the school’s career counseling resources and recruiting services.
WyzAnt.com is the nation’s largest marketplace for tutors and students, offering an easy-to-use and secure environment designed to foster learning through one-on-one instruction. WyzAnt maintains an “A+” rating with the Better Business Bureau and allows students to begin lessons with the security of a 100% Good Fit Guarantee. Students and parents can visit WyzAnt.com to find tutors in a variety of subjects spanning academics, test preparation, music instruction, and computer and career training. WyzAnt’s annual college scholarship offers students $15,000 in college funding. To learn more and to hear what WyzAnt customers have to say, find WyzAnt on Facebook.