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Picking the right college

Selecting the right college means finding not only where a student will live for the next four years, but also the best fit for his personality, interests and your family’s financial situation. It’s often one of the biggest decisions many teens have ever faced.

Here are some things to think about:

Cost

According to the most recent Annual Survey of Colleges by the College Board, students attending a four-year college in their own state will spend an average of $17,860 on tuition, fees and room and board during the 2012-13 academic year. The average price tag jumps to $39,518 per year for a private four-year college.

To cover the costs, parents and students may need to consider student loans, financial aid and scholarships. You can get a list of available scholarships from your high school guidance counselor as well as the colleges and universities you want to attend.

Priorities

Cost may be one of the biggest factors when choosing the right college, but there are many things to consider while researching each prospective school. Though some people judge a school solely on published college rankings, it may be more important to find the rank of specific departments within those schools.

Assessing what you value most in an educational program will help put you on the path to success.

Top choices

Plan a few campus visits to get a feel for campus size, dorm life, the school’s resources and how helpful school staff will be. Finally, make sure any scholarship you might be awarded can be used at the schools you have on your short list.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by all of the choices, just make the best decision you can with the information you have. What may be the best fit academically now can change as quickly as what you want to be when you graduate.

– Family Features

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