Why College?

A common college search process often begins with looking at the costs of attendance (COA). This approach, however, is like putting the cart before the horse.

Before diving into methods of financing college, it is more important to take a hard look at what one wants to do in and after college. An analogous situation would be identifying reasons for purchasing a vehicle before determining which model to buy. And college tuition today can be as expensive as buying a new car each year.

Beginning college without an academic rationale can be costly both in terms of time and money. Without a strategy for progressing towards a desired post-graduation outcome, students in their junior year may find themselves seeking majors that will simply enable them to graduate within two years time. In contrast, some general education requirements can also fulfill major prerequisites if an academic direction has been identified. And some professional majors, such as engineering, begin course requirements in the freshman year.

The lesson of today's employment landscape is that a college degree, even from a prestigious institution, is not a guarantee for life success. Savvy students integrate themes of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, security, or global competition in their academic studies. Exploring post-graduation possibilities during high school facilitates the college selection process. CollegesGPS offers a personalized process to identify a student's interests and academic situations to sustain them.