Posted on Mar 28, 2012 - 06:00 AM
| College Prep
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PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has said that college today is too expensive to be worth it to most people. He even awarded $2 million
to prove his point. But as he readily notes, going to college certainly benefited him (he graduated from Stanford in 1989).
Fellow billionaire Bill Gates has shown through his foundation, however, that college prep benefits all students. They do better in college and the workplace regardless of future plans.
The question for parents, then, isn’t whether their student should take college prep, but rather which service should they use? Which one will give them the best return on their investment?
Investing in College Prep Services
When seeing what your return on investment will be when picking a college prep service, look at the following:
- Cost. Cost can range from free to a few thousand dollars. Free usually offers limited service, and even those that cost a $1000 or more typically specialize in one or two areas. A company that understands how to bundle its service while focusing on a wide variety of topics can make them cost-effective for users. By offering more for less, it shows that they’re concerned with your costs and knows how to offer more for less. If their goal is to make college affordable for you, shouldn’t they make college prep affordable, too?
- Convenience. How much time does college prep require? How easy is it to access products and services? Do you have to go a certain location or classroom, or can you do it from the comfort of your home (coffee shop, library, etc.)? Products should be quick and easy to use, on your time, whenever you want. It’s true – Time is money. Make sure a college prep service lets you use yours wisely.
- Products. How much do they offer? You saw in point number one that many services specialize. It keeps their price down, but doesn’t offer you much in return. Do they cover all the basics of college prep – SATs/ACTs, financial aid, college selection, applications, essays, career focus, etc.? The more options you have, the more likely you are to stay engaged and participate in college prep. Good products motivate you to use them.
- Results. The best way to judge the return on your investment is through results. Can they show you how they’ve helped other students, or better yet, how can they help you? Unfortunately, college prep isn’t like a sandwich – you don’t know five minutes later whether you liked it – but there are clues. How extensive is their reach (nationwide, regional, local)? If a college prep service has proven itself to many others, it can prove itself to you, too. And that makes the investment worth it.
Remember, the full formula is your cost+ convenience + products = your results!
Questioning the Value of College
No one wants to throw good money after bad. Whatever you spend on college, you want to get back with a solid degree and a good career.
Families weigh their options all the time. “College A or B?” they ask. They’ll pay a little more or even take on a little more debt, if they think it leads to a better future. They routinely judge the return on their college investment.
You should do the same for college prep
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