Countdown to Football Signing Day: The better academic school vs. lower tuition costs

Signing Day is around the corner and many senior football recruits have relied on Recruiting-101 to help them during the process of being evaluated and earning a scholarship offer.  And with some seniors about to make a decision, we are going to spend the week taking a time to look at some very vital areas to consider before committing to your top school.  We will tackle five different topics this week that should be something you think about before the first Wednesday in February rolls around.  So sit back and enjoy!

When talking to athletes about what they are looking for in their future college home, one things that always seems to come up is academics.  They may list it because their parents want them to, it is an easy thing to think of, or they really want to find a school that has strong academics.  But is finding a school that has strong academics worth the additional cost in tuition?

A good example could be if a football recruit is trying to decide between a Division III or NAIA school.  I don’t want to say this is true about all of these schools but in the large majority of cases, the Division III will have stronger academics but they cannot offer a scholarship.  The NAIA program on the other hand will not have much focus on academics while being able to lower your tuition costs with a scholarship. 

So why exactly should you spend the extra money to attend a strong school academically?  The goal is that this will be your only time spent on undergraduate schooling.  You may go back to get your Masters or head to law school but you need to make sure that the time and money that you are spending is worth it.  The stronger the academics offered at the school, the more it should be able to help challenge you and prepare you for the real world. 

Strong academic schools should be able to help you with connections towards getting a job after graduation.  If you are majoring in Business, then make sure to ask the professors before you pick the school about internships and what types of programs that they have in helping their students get a job once you finish up with your college education. 

I would hope that the extra money you would be paying would be worth it here because this is vital for your long term prospects, even if most 18-year olds are not seriously thinking about growing up and figuring out their plans for the rest of their lives. 

When you are out of college, having that degree listed on your resume should be a bonus.  In some situations, it will matter and it won’t in others.  It really varies on what field you are in and what job you are applying for.  But having a strong academic background with internships and relevant job experience is a bonus. 

So why exactly should I attend the school that costs less but does not have as strong of academics?  I hate to say this but one of the things I have realized upon entering into the real world is that the key is having a degree.  In a lot of situations, work experience will trump attending a strong academic school because employers want to know that you are capable of more than just memorizing things out of a book. 

Also once you graduate, going to a school that costs less will be a much lower financial burden for those that are paying for college.  If your parents are nice enough to fit the bill (you better be thanking them over and over and over again for this by the way), the cheaper school will be a much smaller financial burden. 

If you are taking out loans to pay for your college education, then you will be setting yourself up better after you graduate.  Again, for most high school athletes, this is the last thing you are thinking about these days.  But trust me in saying that student loans are not a fun thing to pay every month year after year. 

My final call is……. go to the best school that you can afford and will not be burdened by financially during or after college.  The key here is getting a degree and growing as a person during your four or five years in school.  Getting a top notch education is great but in the end, a huge difference in the price is sometimes not worth it overall. 

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