Academic research and the curse of shiny objects


Let’s look at this from a different point of view. Would you invest your hard-earned savings in a home based on verbal statements from a real estate agent? Highly unlikely!

What about college research?

Why are so many students and families drawn like butterflies to a flame towards the so-called top 50 colleges and universities? Lists that are published in glossy magazines that carry strong brand titles.

Since the total cost of tuition over four years will range from $100,000 to $300,000 (and rising), shouldn’t there be a big Buyer Beware sign at the top of these listings?

Perhaps the biggest reason parents and students are dazzled by branded schools is that they don’t realize that colleges and universities are businesses, even if they’re not for profit.

These are not charities!

And how do these schools manage their business?

  • Incoming students are inventory/work in progress
  • Income comes from family contributions, federal grants and loans

In addition, more and more colleges are now employing agents to bring in international students who will pay full tuition, while faculty are often required to bring in grants from foundations and other private sources.

Again – it’s a business!

As counselors, we understand that children leaving home and going to college is a huge event, fraught with anxiety and emotion. It is therefore not always easy to be objective and objective and to adopt a commercial approach.

But isn’t it wise and comforting in the long run to avoid dropouts or transfers after the first year (it happens about 40% of the time) or the $30,000+ in student debt after graduation? diploma ? (This is just the average and does not include parental debt).

And note that these numbers are not improving.

Going back to the real estate example, if you hate traffic, noise, and car exhaust, why would you buy a house downtown? If you like theatres, restaurants and shopping, the countryside will probably bore you to tears.

The same reasoning applies to finding a college or university. Matching your student’s academic abilities, personal preferences, and pursuits with colleges your family can really afford just makes sense.

Unfortunately, the process doesn’t usually go that way. Colleges sell directly to students, leaving parents out of the loop.

And parents are often reluctant to be open with their children about money and affordability.

Such a lack of communication and team effort leads to poor decisions, more expense, and potential failure.

Effective academic research may not be rocket science. But it is complex and detailed enough to require a complete understanding of the process, precise information and clear thinking.

Contrary to what glossy magazines and the college marketing system promote, the healthiest start to a college search is to measure exactly what the family can afford. And you should understand that the expected family contribution will usually not cover the full family payment. So be prepared to pay more.

Although parents often grit their teeth at this idea, it really sets the stage for effective college research. From this platform, all other elements can be taken into account objectively.

And remember that there are hundreds of great schools out there, not just the ones featured in these branded publications.

Source by Michael Prime

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