College scorecard provides insight

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Rebecca Padgett
Opinions Editor

Throughout high school I worked as hard as I could to ensure I had the grades to make it into a good college. In my mind, one of the best things I could do for myself was to earn a degree from a respectable college and make my parents proud.

I worked vigorously to improve my SAT and ACT scores and took as many AP classes that I could. By my senior year of high school I was juggling my decision between three different colleges.

My first thought was to go with one of the bigger universities. I wanted the school spirit, the football games, and the parties. But ultimately, I realized that I was going to college for the education.

The small class sizes and specialized attention of Florida Southern appealed to me. The stunning lake views and sense of community also made an impact on my decision.

With that being said, I feel as if students make their decisions of which college to attend based on factors such as school spirit, dorm room choices, on campus clubs, and other shallow attributes.

While having an abundance of on campus activities and having ample living quarters is important it does not directly affect our futures. Factors such as the price of a college, student loans, graduation rates, and after college job rates do.

Last month the federal government generated an online college scorecard. The scorecard can be easily accessed through the White Houses main site.

The online college scorecard compiles statistics based on the average net costs, graduation rates, loan default rates, programs and majors offered at colleges through out the United States.

By simply typing in the name of the college you are searching you are supplied with these facts right away on a single page. This site allows students and parents alike to see how colleges stack up against one another.

When looking up some of the schools the price may seem foreign to you because the original price on the site does not represent any financial aid, scholarships, or other forms of assistance a student may receive.

There is a net price calculator available through the site that allows you to factor in scholarships and financial aid, in order to give you a more accurate price range.

While most of this site is directed towards students who are searching for a college, it is very interesting to go on and see how different colleges compare. A feature that is likely to grab the attention of students currently in college is the information on average earnings of college students proceeding graduation.

Many upperclassmen, such as myself, are interested in knowing just what we are up against when we have to face the real world in a few short semesters.

I spent a considerable amount of time playing around on this site and exploring all that it had to offer. By the end I wished I would have had a site like this around when I was choosing between colleges.

You may be thinking I am about to bash Florida Southern, well you thought wrong. I most definitely am not. I would not go back and choose another college if I was given the chance.

As a junior here at Florida Southern I have enjoyed my college career very much. I doubt that either of the large universities I was considering would provide me with such an enriched education or provide as many networking opportunities.

I do think that this site is very helpful in presenting the reality of life after college. Especially with the loan default rate and the after graduation employment earnings features. This site is worth checking out for those who are interested in seeing just what your college has to offer. Visit the college scorecard at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/higher-education/college-score-card