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College Comparisons: Top Five Tips

If you're a high school student looking to do college comparisons then here are my top five tips for you to get a better education at the right price. It's important to note that colleges are run like businesses and it's your job to get the best deal. Don't bite into the first acceptance letter, instead you should negotiate your way to college.

1. In-State or Out-of-State?

One of the advantages of attending a college in your state is that for the most part you will have more financial aid because of your state's incentives to help you attend a college or university within your state.

That means more money for college and that is perhaps the biggest reason why many students are deciding to stay within their state. Plus, tuition is a lot cheaper than if you went to a college out-of-state. When I say a lot cheaper, I mean tens of thousands of dollars in savings. Don't ignore this!

On the other hand, you can go out of state but you won't be able to claim the same amounts of money from your state. If the college you will be attending outside of your state makes up for the loss then you are perfectly fine as long as you can pay for most of it without getting in too much debt.

You can also attend a college on a full or free ride scholarship if you have a high ACT or SAT score, parents who make less than $70,000 and have typical assets. Schools like MIT and and Stanford University have programs in place so that the talented, low income students have a chance at an elite education.

2. Private or Public?

For the most part, private universities are more expensive but try and make up for it by offering bigger financial aid packages. This tip is essential when doing college comparisons because although a private university seems a bit overpriced, it will depend on their ability to help you pay.

On the other hand, you can be sure that public colleges and universities will cost a lot less in most cases because they typically receive more funding from the states but in the end you will have to compare the colleges and assess your options.

3. Is the Price Worth the Education?

Except when speaking about math or science majors most other majors don't always have the same importance when it comes to where you get a degree. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do college comparisons for the best school in your particular area but I think you should draw a line of compromise between cost and where you receive your diploma.

For example, I will be majoring in accounting and there is no way in this world that I would pay $100,000 more for the same education simply because my degree would have the name of a sub Ivy League school. Why? Because I would be $100,000 down the hole for the same education. This happened to Ms.Munna . True story!

With that being said, you should attend a college that is a combination of a good education at a good price. That is my biggest piece of advice when I talk about this subject as you can tell.

4. Compare Financial Aid Packages

Here's what you do, go to the websites of your prospective colleges and look at how much academic scholarship they are offering you for your ACT test or SAT test. Then look at scholarships related to your major and then find out about potential scholarships that may come from participating in extracurricular activities. This is a major part of doing proper college comparisons so don't skip it.

5. Do You Prefer Personal Attention?

One of the huge advantages of smaller schools is their ability to give you more personal attention. This final piece of advice is also something you have to take into account when doing college comparisons.

The decision is up to you but in my case I went with a smaller school because I felt I would be more challenged. I also needed more attention. But if you don't mind being in a class room with hundreds of people then go for it. It's completely up to you.

Sources: Fox Business report on college comparisons

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