College Pricing Tips

Satellite or Mother Ship? The vast majority of state-owned university systems have one “main campus” and several “satellite” campuses located throughout the state.  The cost of attending one of the satellite campuses is usually less than attending the main campus, even though the name on the diploma at graduation will be the same. For example, you can attend the Penn State Altoona campus for about $1,500 less per year than you would pay at the University Park campus.

College of Charleston or Stanford? ($20,000 Degrees of Separation) These colleges could fall in the famous category, but the point here is that one is a lower cost state school and the other a higher priced private school. For some common types of degrees – education, nursing and biology, for example – it might not “pay” to go to a private school that is $20,000 more per year when you might be able to get an equivalent education at a less costly college. Of course, this is no reflection on Stanford or the value inherent in a Stanford education.

The No Shame Game: There is no shame in attending a local community college for the first few years of college to complete the majority of the general education classes that most four-year colleges require.


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What Happens After You Apply To College?

The college admissions process is far different today than it was even five years ago, and it changes a little each year. To get a head of the game you need to know what the potential outcomes are when a student applies to college, and what they mean. Definitions by Jake Talmage, the Director of College Counseling at the St Paul’s School near Baltimore, MD.
Early Decision Accept– you have agreed to enroll in that school. You have been admitted and need to enroll. Withdraw other applications.
Accept– you have been accepted and have until May 1 to decide where to go.
Defer– typically a result in an early process. The college has deferred you so they can see more information (possibly about your application, possibly about the application pool) before they make a decision. Colleges will typically try to get you a final decision by April 1.
Deny– the college has decided not to offer you a space. Don’t think this is personal. There can be all sorts of reasons beyond your control that affect this. They have denied your application, not you as a person.
Waitlist– the college is holding off to make a decision. Usually, this is offered before April 1 and students will not hear until after May 1 (although that can differ in individual cases).
Conditional admission– while all offers are usually conditional on finishing your high school similar to previous performance, sometimes colleges will add additional conditions. For in- stance, I have had offers to students that required a summer course, etc.
Guaranteed Transfer– a rare offering, but sometimes a college will say “we will admit you as a sophomore” as long as you do the following freshman year
Deferring enrollment– some colleges will let students defer their admission for a year after being admitted so they can pursue a special opportunity. This may be work, travel, etc. It is usually NOT to attend another college.

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