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College Selection - Invert The Process

Giving thoughtful consideration to your student's college selection can save parents considerable expense on the cost of achieving their degree.


When beginning the college selection process, the typical approach for most families is first to determine what school the student wishes to attend, then a major of interest and, lastly upon graduation, what career the child wishes to pursue.

Such a path might have worked in years gone by when college was not nearly as expensive, but with college costs increasing 2-3 times the normal rate of inflation, it’s critical that families do not make any missteps in the process. This means that students must focus on graduating in only four years, then gaining employment in a skilled job which then applies the major and skills that were learned in college.

Accordingly, parents should adopt a better approach to college selection:

  • First focus on a suitable career for their student
  • Then the majors that might support such a career, and
  • Finally a college or colleges that would support such a course of study.

Determining what career is best suited for your student is a tough exercise, but applying such a thoughtful process can save families significant money, time and aggravation. A good place to begin is by taking a test that credibly measures your student’s personality traits, aptitudes, interests, needs and/or desires. Numerous tools are available to help students determine many of these introspective qualities.

Many families initially will turn to the Internet; certainly there are websites that offer such career tests – some free, yet others charge a fee for these services. Some families might prefer a ‘brick and mortar’ business offering college counseling and career testing services, where the fee generally ranges based upon services and the test(s) administered. While paying a fee for aptitude/career testing may seem like an unnecessary or sizable amount of money, the cost typically pales in comparison to that incurred by a family whose student prolongs college due to a change in majors or possibly schools.

Students who begin the college selection process with a good understanding of their ultimate career path will have an easier time determining what supporting major is of interest. There are numerous resources available that indicate what majors are supportive of which careers, thus students can now begin the search for a suitable college knowing the major or majors that they wish to pursue.

A student can scan colleges that offer their desired major(s) who are well regarded or have a solid reputation in this field of study. Students can also factor in other criteria which may be important to them relative to the college of choice, perhaps: proximity to home, net cost, enrollment size, student/faculty ratio, public or private, football/other athletic team, or other emotional factors that might round out their decisions. Any or all of these other factors are important, because let’s face it, we want our students to be happy with the school they select.

If we can direct our students to think about career first and then an appropriate major, their school selection will come much easier after these important assessments. And of tremendous benefit, this inverted process will reduce your family’s out-of-pocket costs for college.

To learn how you potentially might reduce your out-of-pocket cost for your student's college education, call Paradox College Funding at 678-920-5578 or visit www.paradoxcollegefunding.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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