I have been wanting to write about college for quite some time. Not about my own college experience, but whether it is even worth it to send our kids to college these days. It’s a pretty loaded question and a debate that obviously needs to be covered in several posts. Hence, the new college series.
First, I want to start by excerpting from an insightful college essay selected by the NYTimes to be printed in its Your Money column. The student, Julian Cranberg, nailed it with the following thoughts:
“The combined postage charge of everything I have received from various colleges must be above $200. Small postcards and envelopes add up fast, especially considering the colossal pool of potential applicants to which they are being sent. Although vastly aiding the United States Postal Service in its time of need, it is nauseating to imagine the volume of money spent on this endeavor. Why, in an era of record-high student loan debt and unemployment, are colleges not reallocating these ludicrous funds to aid their own students instead of extending their arms far and wide to students they have never met?” – Julian’s full essay including those of the other three selected can be found here.
I couldn’t agree more. Schools that need to resort to advertising have no place educating our future leaders. The application hierarchy should look like this:
1) Prestigious school whether it’s private or public (i.e., Harvard or UC Berkeley)
2) State school (i.e., University of California System)
3) State school (i.e., Cal State System)
4) Community college, then transfer to any of the above
This hierarchy is not the end all, be all. After prospective students get acceptances, then expenses and financial aid need to be taken into account before a final decision can be made. But notice that nowhere in my hierarchy do you see a small private college. Even if you think you have your heart set on some quaint, tree-lined campus, I do not see the value in applying to a low-ranked, cost prohibitive, private school.
Where did you go to college and do you think it was worth the money? If your children are in high school, how are you advising them when it comes to college?