Professor, I am not looking for some esoteric general discussion. Rather I am looking for a process: something that will take me from beginning to end in helping me make the right decision.
I have a four step approach that I discuss in my book, “Colleges Behind Closed Doors: What You Need To Know (Long) Before You Go.” It combines all the elements of a logical process that will help you come to the final decision. Most of this is geared to helping you get control of the decision making process and finally deciding what college will serve your needs.
For example, the first step involves performing a self-evaluation whereby you must decide why you really want to attend college. My approach differs from all others in that I encourage you to think and first and make several decisions before you even begin to think of picking up a college catalog or guide that tries to influence you to attend a given college.
Once you have decided why you want to go and what needs you must have filled, you then seek out the undistorted truth. Be sure that the college can satisfy your need (usually it is career-based). You need to get answers to some tough questions. And you will learn that the colleges will not want to give them freely. You see, they are afraid that, once you know the truth about their ability to satisfy your need, you will not want to attend their university.
Remember, we are dealing with an incredible amount of money. The expense of a college degree can be more than the mortgage on your house-so you can not make the decision lightly.
Your quest for information will take much effort. You will need to speak to students and corporate recruiters among others. You should also review the sections in this website regarding the campus visit, the ten commandments of your college search and our listing of no-loan colleges.