Should I Attend A Lesser Known College I’ve Never Heard Of?

Grinnell lesser known college

Flickr user Ron Cogswell

Many high school students already have a few ideas of which college they want to attend before starting their search. They base their choices on schools that their parents went to, schools their friends are attending, or schools that are famous. Even when they start exploring other colleges, most students will rarely look at a lesser known college. But then they might miss out on some ideal hidden gems. Here’s why you should consider expanding your search to include colleges you haven’t heard about.

Just Because You Haven’t Heard of it, Doesn’t Mean it’s Obscure

There are over 4,500 colleges spread across the United States, some of which are located in remote, far-flung cities. It’s impossible for any one person to have heard of each and every one of these institutions. But just because you haven’t heard of a particular college, does not mean it’s lesser-known or even less reputed. That school may actually be very well-known. It just happens to be outside your radar.

A Lesser Known College Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Substandard

Larger colleges have larger marketing budgets and take every opportunity to publish their accomplishments and toot their own horn. Smaller colleges can’t afford to spend on media coverage. Instead, they use their limited budget on hiring the best teachers and creating the best on-campus facilities for their students. Attending a college that is not as visible as an Ivy League doesn’t mean you will get a substandard education. Many lesser-known colleges offer outstanding academic and extracurricular resources.

Fit Is More Important Than Reputation or Ranking

Getting accepted into a top-ranked college may give you bragging rights, but is that school really the best fit for you? Choosing a college that is a good fit for you is so much more important than choosing one based on its ranking or reputation. The more highly ranked a college is, the more competitive it is likely to be. Are you a good fit for such a highly competitive environment? Does high competition bring out the best in you or does it leave you stressed all the time. These are things you must consider when choosing a top-ranked prestigious school.

A lesser-known college may be less competitive, offering you plenty of opportunities to shine and make a mark for yourself both in and outside the classroom.

You’ll Save Money

Top-ranked colleges are oftentimes much more expensive then lesser known institutions. Do you really want to graduate under the burden of such large debt just to attend a well known college?

At a lesser-known college you will get an excellent education at a fraction of the price. Think of the money you will save. You will be able to pay back your smaller loans faster, leaving you free to get on with your life debt-free while your counterparts from top-ranked colleges are still paying off their large debts.

Don’t cancel a school off your list just because of its quiet reputation. Take a look at it more closely to determine whether it is a good fit for your personality and your academic and professional goals. If it is a good fit, you should definitely consider attending that college, even if you’ve never heard of it before.

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