I remember looking at all the view-books, weighing advantages between one school and the other. As soon as I finished my Sophomore year, I sent off for every piece of information I could from schools I thought I wanted to attend.
The schools obliged. I received mountains of letters, print material (this was prior to a digital world – I know I am old), and invitations to visit the campus. All of the appeals were targeted toward what I would experience as a student. They tried to quantify an intangible “feeling” that most of my peers had about attending school.
Here’s where I was different.
I knew what degree I wanted and I didn’t want to go into debt for an undergrad degree. Period.
Oh, and I would be footing the bill myself.
Yes, the images of sporting events, parties and pretty girls were nice. Yes, the newly renovated dorms were spectacular. Unless you had significant funding in scholarships, work-study or other cost-saving features, I was out. No matter the quality of the school, I knew the end result of my degree built more upon my own efforts and what I did with that degree rather than the location.
Christopher Ingram over at the Washington Post made this very claim in a great article every college bound student or parent of a High School student should read. Here’s the money quote (pun intended)
[W]e need to stop thinking about choosing a college as if it were the same thing as choosing a romantic partner. There's currently too much emphasis on "finding the right match," based on squishy and largely intangible qualities like "personal values," "learning style," "campus ambience." A college education is a purchase, and a big one at that. Yet a survey by Discover Student Loans finds that nearly half of parents say they don't even consider cost when choosing a school with their children. If prospective buyers said the same things about cars or houses, we'd think they were insane.
Parents and Students need to look at the bottom line. It does matter!
While the first delimiter should always be the desired degree (engineering, business, ministry, etc.), never forget the cost of the education itself as it relates to your budget and your family’s budget. You may have an emotional attraction to a particular school but be careful about letting that be what drives the conversation. This is one of the most significant purchases you make in your life. This fall, as final decisions and preparations for college are being made, make sure you’ve looked beyond the feeling and found the right institutional and financial fit.
As the Dean of Midwestern Baptist College, we strive to provide affordability without sacrificing rigorous training. This is a hard battle but one we are committed to engaging. I am proud that we are the most affordable, accredited private school in the State of Missouri and in the top-ten of all accredited schools in the state relating to affordability. We remain singularly focused on training men and women to make an impact globally for the cause of Christ. We have one of the finest faculty who invest personally in students to accomplish that singular goal.
That, my friends, is more than an intangible feeling. That is a solid foundation for the future.
Maybe you should surf over to mbts.edu/apply and get your application in for the fall semester! We would love to equip you for making a difference for the future!
A version of this article appeared in June, 2014.