March is a month for nail-biters – fans on edge with basketball madness and high school seniors anxiously waiting to hear from colleges. Choosing a college is a big decision, one that impacts the next four years of a student’s life and a lot of money, typically $120,000 for an in-state public college or close to $270,000 for an out-of-state or private college.
When researching colleges, families may not ask one of the most important questions – what percentage of students graduate in four years? If it takes longer than four years to graduate, that’s more than four years of tuition. One college that lost early in the tournament has a great four-year graduation rate – University of Virginia with a four-year graduation rate of 86%. Compare that with Georgia State’s rate at 21%.
Another important question is what percentage of students return for the second year? This statistic is called retention rate, and there’s a 20-point difference this year in retention rates of the colleges in the tournament! University of Virginia, University of Michigan and Duke all boast retention rates of 98% versus UNC-Greensboro’s lower 77% retention rate.
Nationwide 27% of students do not return for year two. When students transfer, not all their credits are likely to transfer, thus adding to the cost of that college diploma. No one wants to pay for an extra semester or year of college at these prices.
So, remember choosing a college to attend is not the same as choosing your favorite March Madness pick.
High school students here are the 12 most prestigious and well-respected competitions. These offer significant financial prizes and will make you more desirable to the most selective and prestigious universities. More importantly by competing you will develop the skills in research, learning, diverse thought, critical thinking and communication that all colleges and employers desire.
NANCY GRIESEMER is the sole author of the content and Admissions.Blog as the sole publisher of the original content.