Approximately 19.9 million students enrolled in an American college in 2018. At the developing ages of 17-18, students are asked to commit to a four-year path and oftentimes a debt that haunts their lives for years afterwards. A college decision plays a crucial role in one’s career path and financial health. Accordingly, it should be addressed as a strategic investment. In some cases debt is inevitable. However, one can maximize their investment by choosing a school with a balance of competitive tuition pricing and opportunity proposition. For varying cases this could depend on location, program prestige, notable affiliated organizations, strong athletic programs, prominent extracurriculars, need-blind status – the list goes on.

During my college search I toured 14 Universities, and subscribed to countless databases for access to exclusive statistics. I quickly realized that every school had qualities just as valuable as the next, so I had to reflect on what was important in my life. Not which University was the best on paper, but what did I need? Within the same month that I received a large acceptance envelope from my dream school, I committed to a different University that I had never toured, never heard of before, and was over 5000 miles away from home.

I currently attend University of Greenwich in London, UK, and I love it! Here are the top three personal goals and factors that brought me to that decision.

1. Education: I wanted to become an expert in my field. In the UK and most of Europe, college applications require a commitment to a specific major/minor. Accordingly, all of one’s classes are directly related to that declared area of study.
2. Cost: Given the burden of taking on debt so early on in life, I made an obscure goal to graduate debt free. Excluding Gen-Eds from the program means that most undergraduate degrees only takes 3 years in the UK. The price tag combined with the asset of time meant that I could complete my undergraduate degree at about 45% of the cost of in-state, and 20% of out of state tuition.
3. Opportunity: Being a Marketing Management Major and Spanish Minor I knew my degree was dynamic enough to be employable in most markets. However, I strongly believe University is an excellent opportunity to begin something new and exciting. I wanted to try my hand at being in a bigger, faster, more competitive market – like London!

I made a blind bet on a path that was based on my personal needs. Amidst the chaos of sales pitches from schools, endless stats, and outside opinions, it can be hard to reflect on the real reasons for pursuing an undergraduate degree. In addition to this academic journey that I am so excited to further, living in London has its perks. Intra-Euro travel escapades are financially accessible, football matches are lively, and after a long day there’s nothing like sharing a pint with mates in a corner pub. Bottom line, the decision for higher education should be career focused while being financially strategic – and if one does it right they can walk away with some incredible experiences too.

TCI Intern, Specializing in Marketing for 3rd Decade