The 5 Costliest Mistakes Students Make When it Comes to College.

The costliest mistakes students make when it comes to college result in excessive debt and limited earning potential. Sadly, most students will make at least one of these errors (most students mess up number 4).

  1. Choosing a college based solely on its reputation: Lots of students make the mistake of choosing a college based on its reputation without considering the cost or the fit for their needs. This can result in taking on a significant amount of debt without the guarantee of a return on investment. According to a report by the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), two-thirds of college seniors who graduated in 2017 had student loan debt.

  2. Choosing a major without considering job prospects: Students who choose a major without considering career options may struggle to find employment after graduation. This can result in lower lifetime earnings and difficulty paying off loans. According to a report by Georgetown University, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates was 7.9% in 2020. However, the unemployment rate for recent graduates varies significantly by major, with some majors having unemployment rates as high as 15.1%.

  3. Not taking advantage of opportunities to gain experience: According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 91% of employers prefer to hire candidates who have work experience. Students who do not take advantage of internships, co-op programs, and other opportunities to gain experience may struggle to find employment after graduation. This can result in delayed career advancement and difficulty paying off loans.

  4. Not completing their degree program or taking longer than necessary: Students who do not complete their degree program may be left with a significant amount of debt without the earning potential that comes with a completed degree. According to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, only 59% of students who started college in the fall of 2014 completed their program within six years.

  5. Not going to college out of fear of debt: College is an investment of time and (usually) money. But education is, generally speaking, a very good investment. According to a report by the College Board, in 2020, the median earnings for bachelor’s degree holders aged 25-34 working full time were $53,000 per year, compared to $35,000 per year for those with only a high school diploma. According to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, bachelor’s degree holders earn, on average, $2.8 million over their lifetime, compared to $1.8 million for those with only a high school diploma.

By carefully considering the cost of college, applying for financial aid, completing their degree program, choosing a major with good job prospects, and gaining experience in their field of interest, students can set themselves up for success in the long term. Unfortunately, doing all of this is easier said than done. That’s why I am here to help you navigate through every step of the process.

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