Before the Campus Visit: Must Do’s Before You Hit the Road

by Jennifer Ledwith | 
(713) 553-6557
In Ron Lieber’s The Price You Pay For College: An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make, he asks families two questions: What is college to you, and how much are you willing to pay for it? He suggests that families do their research before they visit prospective colleges and universities.

1. Why is your child going to college?

Is your student planning to spend years of his or her life and thousands of dollars of the family’s money on higher education to…
A. Get a job?
B. Party?
C. Build a social network?
D. Grow intellectually?
E. A combination of answer choices A, B, C, and D?
F. None of the above?

2. How well does a given university help students with why they are attending college?

Visit the president’s page of the school’s website. Read the college or university’s strategic plan. What is the focus? Does its plans align with your student’s reason for pursuing higher education?

3. What are my student’s chances of receiving financial aid?

The Common Data Set for your prospective university will reveal the following about financial aid:
  • Average dollar amount that a college or university awards in non-need based athletic scholarships and grants
  • Number of students whose financial need was fully met without parent loans, unsubsidized loans, and private loans
  • Average loan amount
  • Criteria in awarding non-need based and need-based financial aid
Here’s an example of the financial aid section of the University of Oklahoma’s Common Data Set.
To find a college or university’s Common Data Set, Google Common Data Set and the name of the school.
Here’s a sample search: Common Data Set and Howard University.

Article by Scholar Ready


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