It's worth thinking twice about private universities, especially since they can cost several times as much as public schools. Some private schools have prestigious names that can open doors, or at least give a bit of shine to a resume. But a hard-working, clever student at a public university can achieve just as much. Besides a college's name, graduate schools or employers will be looking at courses, grades, recommendations from faculty members, initiative taken, achievements, and so on.
An interesting exercise is to have your child interview five to 10 adults, asking where they went to college, and how they think their college choice made a difference in landing jobs and in their career.
Also, these lists of people and the schools they attended can show your child that successful people have gone to all kinds of schools:
|Warren Buffett (investor extraordinaire)||University of Nebraska|
|Bill Cosby (comedian)||Temple University|
|Roger Ebert (movie critic)||University of Illinois|
|David Gardner (Fool co-founder)||University of North Carolina|
|Jim Henson (Muppets creator)||University of Maryland|
|Stephen King (writer)||University of Maine|
|David Letterman (TV personality)||Ball State University|
|Steven Spielberg (director)||California State College, Long Beach|
|Oprah Winfrey (media personality)||Tennessee State University|
|Madeleine Albright (Secretary of State)||Wellesley College|
|Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard CEO)||Stanford University|
|Tom Gardner (Fool co-founder)||Brown University|
|Ruth Bader Ginsberg (Supreme Court justice)||Cornell University|
|Steve Jobs (Apple co-founder)||Reed College|
|Denzel Washington (actor)||Fordham University|
|Tiger Woods (golfer)||Stanford University|
Different personalities thrive in different environments. Public schools are attractive because (among other things) they can cost a lot less. But with proper planning (and perhaps a scholarship or two), private schools can be very affordable, too.
Here are some Fool articles on student loans and paying for college:
You'll find lots of additional tips on 529 plans and on paying for college in our College Savings Center. Our Paying for College discussion board is a good place to ask questions you may have, and our book, The Motley Fool's Guide to Paying for School, by Robert Brokamp, is also a handy resource.