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The Savvy Applicant

A College Admissions Blog

3 Ways to Minimize the Cost of College

Posted: 6/5/2015 12:00 AM by Benjamin Caldarelli | with 0 Comments

Filed under: Merit Scholarships

minimize cost of college
The cost of college and the amount of debt students are being burdened with is a major problem in this country. While some (like Forest Gump), are lucky enough to have invested in “some kind of fruit company” that made it so big they don’t have to worry about money, the rest of us do. Even families that are too affluent to receive any need-based assistance often ask us about strategies to minimize the cost of college.
 
1. Graduate on Time
 
One of the best ways to save money on college, no matter where you go, is to graduate on time (or even early). We do not want to imply this is always an easy thing to do, but many students make it more difficult when they transfer from one college to another. According to the New York Times, 33 percent of all college students will transfer at some point during their college career.  Avoiding this common pitfall will give you the best chance to graduate on time and thus avoid additional costs.
 
2. Find the Right Fit
 
Finding the college that will be right for you the first time can be hard and confusing. Students should consider many factors, but two easy to find statistics that jump out are the retention and graduation rates of a college. Using these numbers as well as their gut feeling from a thorough campus visit can go a long way. Having said that, it is still very important for students to have a trusted college advisor they can talk to about who they are as a person, and what they want in a college.  This should be an ongoing and evolving conversation when deciding where to apply and ultimately where to matriculate. Because we spend a large amount of time researching and traveling to colleges every year, we often have knowledge and advice that can help students and families make the right choices.

3. Earn Merit Scholarships
 
This may not be possible at the Ivy League and some other very selective schools, but everyone should have a balanced college list that includes safer schools.  Choosing to apply to colleges where you may be a top admit will give you the best chance to earn a merit scholarship and can provide some very attractive options.  Just for instance, an outstanding student that was admitted to Harvard might consider choosing Boston College instead if they were offered a prestigious presidential scholarship that includes full tuition and other highly coveted benefits. Read about student who turned down Ivy League here.
 
There is much merit money out there to be had, but to be eligible for the most money at the most schools, students must perform at their peak. Investing early on strategic academic and extra-curricular planning, tutoring for high stakes tests, and advice on how to write the strongest application essays can yield huge returns.  Full tuition at many colleges is over 200 thousand dollars for 4 years.  Having a great college admissions counselor throughout high school can be like earning a 1000 percent return on a stock.  That would be like having bought Apple at 20 bucks!
 
This may not always be possible, but what if you were only able to receive a 100 percent return? Princeton College Consulting is not Apple, but we have had incredible success helping students achieve their dreams while providing extraordinary value for our families. Let us assist yours throughout the college admissions process and you will truly have “one less thing to worry about.””