Planning for College
An Important Decision
Choosing a college is often the second most important decision in life- exceeded only by the choice of a wife or a husband. In money terms, college can easily be the second largest expenditure in life-exceeded only by the cost of a house. (Some colleges cost more for four years than the average cost of a house in some states.) College is more than a preparation for a career. Often the person who graduates has become a different person from what he or she was as an entering freshman. Moreover, the imprint of a particular college or university can remain for life. Decades later, people may say knowingly, "He was a West Pointer," or "She went to Bennington " or "He is a Chicago economist." Many writers have commented on the fact that Lyndon Johnson's relations with the Kennedys were soured by his awareness that they went to Harvard while he graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College . For better or worse, the choice of a college has lifelong implications.
Differences in Colleges
At its best, the right college can open up whole vistas to the mind and be an exhilarating experience, like being born again. Many alumni are grateful for life for what their colleges did for them-and this gratitude translates into billions of dollars in donations annually to provide scholarships and other expenditures necessary to keep these opportunities alive for a new generation.