Six Tips for Finding a Value College to Complete Your College Degree

Six Tips for Finding a Value College to Complete Your College DegreeCompleting a college degree is a great choice for gaining a promotion, taking a job at another company, or switching industries into a higher growth area. A college degree is a good choice, but the right college degree from the right school at a value price is a great choice.  There are several potential missteps that can derail your plan to complete higher education.


Follow these six steps to help make a great choice when continuing your higher education to get a degree respected by the marketplace and your bank account.


Value in Higher Education Tip #1 – Go For a Four Year Degree. A four year degree should be your primary goal when completing higher education because this type of degree is the most common basic entrance requirement for most corporations to be member of company management and / or apply for management positions. Additionally, a four year degree will ensure you remain competitive with graduates coming out of college today and in the future. A four year degree aligns your professional goals with today and future business requirements.

Value in Higher Education Tip #2 – Look at Management Resumes to Help Select a School. One of the best ways to get an idea of a set of higher education institutions to advance your career is to look at executive biographies in your city. In the Investor or “About Us” section of a company website, there are almost always biographies that list the undergraduate institutions of management. Look at 4-6 different companies and 4-5 people in each company for their undergraduate institution. This will give you a very good idea of 4-6 schools to apply for admission.

Value in Higher Education Tip #3 – Select Higher Education Institutions that are Local, Physical, and a Large Student Body. Value colleges are usually large, public universities with a physical campus in major cities. This translates to a lot of available major fields of study, a large alumni network for hiring / mentoring opportunities, and most public colleges have very reasonable tuition and fee requirements. In addition, value colleges are used to serving both a traditional and a non-traditional student body so they have online and traditional classroom education options. By far, these are the best options for completing your education.

Value in Higher Education Tip #4 – Get Plans in Writing with Registrar & Undergraduate Counselor Before Applying. Once you have selected a school, then meet with the registrar and an admissions counselor to determine how many of your existing credits will transfer before you even apply. Then determine what the remaining course requirements and scheduled offerings will be to complete your degree. This is the only way to determine what the total expense will be between different schools. This is a critical step because some classes required for graduation for some majors are only offered once or twice a year.  

Value in Higher Education Tip #5 – Apply to 3 to 4 Schools That Meet Your Criteria with a Focus on Educational Outcomes. A focus on higher education outcomes that schools actually produce is the only way to cut through the school’s marketing and advertising information to determine what your expected financial outcome will be from your degree.

There are eight critical data elements to focus on to assess how well a school prepares you for an improved professional and financial life. They are:


  1. Average Salary Following Graduation
  2. Average Student Loan Debt
  3. Educational Complaint Count — The number of educational complaints against the school that may signal financial collapse, compliance to accreditation, or deceptive financial / recruiting practices.
  4. Graduation Rate of All Students
  5. Tuition Levels
  6. Retention Rate of BA Students — the percentage level of students who continue their education at the college.
  7. Student Loan Repayment Rate All Students
  8. Undergraduate Enrollment — Higher is better to the larger size of alumni in related career fields.

    Value in Higher Education Tip #6 – Select Your Final School Choice Based on Financial Aid, Estimated Debt, and College Outcomes. Once you have your educational plan, know the educational outcomes of your schools, understand your true financial requirements, you can then pick a school to complete your degree.

The best choice to complete your degree is to find a school that is respected, valued in the marketplace, physically present in your community, has a high alumni base, and one that will allow you to complete your degree quickly, on-time, and with the minimal financial impact. Determining a school to complete your degree is hard work, but the hard work disappears at graduation and when your dream job corporate recruiter calls.


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About the blogger:

Chad is the author of two books: (1) Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and (2) Battlefield to Business Success. Chad’s brand message is that organizations & individuals need to translate and apply military skills to business because they immediately produce results and are cost effective. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab.  Chad is an adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in over 110 different articles in over 85 separate publications including The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.



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