How to find the best school

D.P. Morgan is an author from Little Rock, Arkansas. He is the founder at XKA Ministries and the author of the upcoming book Christlike Conduct and Character, and is scheduled to start attending The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in the Summer of 2015. When not studying the Bible or theology, he enjoys paleo-cooking and dry comedy.

There is so much confusion when it comes to picking the right school to go into after high school. In high school, everyone knows they have to just do it. College on the other hand is a serious step towards a solid grounding for a career. The choice of a college to attend can make-or-break several years following a bachelor’s degree. What do I mean? In short, pick a college that will give the necessary degree, without a mountain of student loan debt to carry on your back.
You get what you pay for, but you don’t necessarily get what you overpay for. I am finishing my degree at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a commuter school with the potential of receiving a sufficiently accredited bachelor’s degree. UALR is a state school, and is roughly two hundred dollars per credit. I have a wealth of knowledge from seasoned professors and faculty to talk to, and ask advice for future career moves. Down the road in Conway, Arkansas I easily pay ten times more money for a private school that will add nothing but debt to my name. This is the decision you must make: is my ego worth the student loan debt it will result in?
A state school without a fancy name or the college experience seen on several movies will completely prepare you for the real world. In all actuality, the real world comes with house notes, car payments, crying babies, and the joys of job searches. Why pay more than needed for the same degree? Most employers will not care whether you attended Rhodes College or The University of Memphis, but I can assure you that if you were to choose Rhodes, your student loan payments will prompt some second thoughts, even if you had a partial scholarship.
The heart of the matter is preparing for a career, and making wise decisions. It is not a bad idea to get an associate’s degree and transfer to a four year school, saving lots of money. Granted this will be ‘less prestigious’, but so is driving a Nissan instead of an Infiniti…and they have the exact same parts… made by Nissan. Life is what you make of it. If you do solid work, it will speak for itself. A 4.0 GPA from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville will sound better than 3.0 GPA from University of Illinois in Champagne/Urbana. Save your coinage for the decision for further studies (MA, MBA, ThM, PhD, etc.). With a nation like America up to its eyeballs in debt, is it worth the financial ball-and-chain for a piece of card stock and low-grade calligraphy? I think not. Get your degree, do your work, study hard, work harder, and be productive member of society. Leave your faux-elitism and pretend-prestigious university acronym in the mailbox. You will thank me later.

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