3 Reasons You Should Consider a More Prestigious College for Your Child

by TTMK on November 1, 2017 · 0 comments

The following post is by Melissa Batai

School is back in session, and juniors and seniors will begin the process of taking the ACT and/or SAT and applying to colleges.  Since college is so expensive, many parents may encourage their children to look at local colleges.  While that is good advice, they should also encourage their children if they are interested in more prestigious colleges that cost more.

There are several good reasons why they should look at more prestigious colleges, even if the hefty price tag feels daunting.

Deep alumni pockets.  While the local college may be less expensive, the prestigious college may have more money to offer in the form of grants and scholarships.  Often, well-known colleges have alumni members with deep pockets.  These alumni donate millions to the school, and in return, the school has more cash to offer than other, less well-known colleges.

When I transferred from a community college to a four-year college, I chose between a local university and a Big Ten university.  In the end, I made my decision almost solely based on finances, and the Big Ten university won hands down.  The school simply had more financial resources available to help me.

Alumni career support.  The more prestigious college also likely has a strong alumni base.  These alumni are often thriving in their chosen careers, and they don’t mind helping one another.  The Big Ten school I attended has a huge alumni group in LinkedIn, and all of those people are helping one another.  You can’t argue with that type of connection when it comes to furthering your career.

Weight of the college name.  Finally, attending a more prestigious college may open doors for you later in life.  If future employers and graduate schools are well aware of the prestigious college, they carry their own perceptions and often positive biases.  However, if you choose to instead attend a local college, very few people outside of your state may know of that college.  Because the local college is less well-known, it carries less weight.

When I applied to graduate schools, I earned a teaching assistantship.  One of my professors later told me part of why I earned that assistantship, even though my grades in my undergraduate experience were not as good as others applying for the assistantship, was because I had attended a Big Ten school, and the faculty knew that I had gotten a good, rigorous education.

While I benefitted from attending a more selective school, I would not endorse going deeply into student loan debt to attend one.  However, if your child is making a list of potential colleges to attend, don’t be too upset if one or more prestigious colleges is on the list.  (Just make sure some less expensive ones are, too.)  You and your child may be pleasantly surprised to find that the college you thought would be most out of reach financially is likely the most accessible financially.

Would you encourage your child to apply to a range of colleges in the hopes of snagging a strong financial aid package, or do you prefer that your child just focus on a local, less expensive college?

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