Deciding to go to college is a big decision. However, deciding where to go and how to finance your education– these are even bigger decisions. If you need to finance your education, you have many options: student loans, grants, and scholarships can help. And working while you are in school helps financially (and also forces you learn to budget your time).
Personally, I used all of these options to finance my education. I am also in significant student loan debt as a result of the school I chose. I went to a great private university, and received an amazing education. But I wish I had understood the depth and breadth of the financial decisions I was making.
Before my current position, I worked as a marketing consultant to higher education. Here I learned how colleges and universities market themselves to students. This experience opened my eyes to the many different educational options, at various price points, all over the country. But I learned all this after the fact. I really regret not being more informed about my options and the expense of higher education, before I enrolled at the age of 18.
Ultimately – your education is what you make it. It doesn’t really matter what school you attend. What matters is the skill and knowledge you acquire. You get what you put in, whether you go to Harvard or a local community college. Go where you can afford and work hard.
In short, school is what you make it. If you are driven, you will do good, no matter where you go. Spending a fortune to go to a ‘great’ college isn’t necessary, and sometimes isn’t an option.