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Ask 3 Questions Before Picking a For-Profit College

Getting into college can seem like an uphill battle full of twist turns, high cliffs, and burning hoops to jump through.  When the college of your dreams returns your call, it is exciting.  You feel hopeful.  You feel like you are really wanted and valued.  And you are, but be sure it is for the right reasons.

Many for-profit college have sales people with titles that lead you to believe they are admissions staff.  Their goal is to get you to enroll.  Sure they want you to stay, because the longer you stay, the more you spend.  They may be ignoring other factors, like college or program readiness and your true interest in the program.

Not all for-profits are evil, but if you read the news, you’ll find that for-profits are being scrutinized for preying on first-generation college students, using pushy or aggressive sales tactics and not requiring students to pass the admissions exams.  Avoid some of these traps by asking three tough questions.

1.  How much does this really cost?  

Ask about and look for hidden fees.  Tuition is often just the beginning.  Some colleges require the purchase of uniforms, textbooks, and related supplies.  Be sure that you understand all of these costs before committing to a program.

2.  Do I have the basic skills?  

Being an A+ student in high school is required for college success.  You do need to ensure that you can write clearly, have good study habits, and are prepared to ask for help.  If you struggle in these areas, develop these skills with a tutor before entering college.  For-profit colleges are notorious for ignoring a lack of basic skills or telling students that they will figure it out in class but this is often not the case.  Honestly assess your skills before heading to college.  

3.  What are past students saying?  

Past students are an indicator of the success of the college; keep in mind that there is always an angry student or two willing to rant.  However, a quick internet search will show you where past students are working and what they are saying about the school.  If you find more bad comments than good ones, skip the school and continue your search.

For-profit colleges are not all bad.  Many have provided great opportunities for their students.  Others are exploiting students who are looking for more and duped by promises.  Asking these three questions will help ensure your enrolling in a good one.

MH

MH

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