Going Back To School? 4 Important Factors To Consider When Picking Your Alma Mater

Going Back To School? 4 Important Factors To Consider When Picking Your Alma Mater - Guest Blog by Emma Sturgis | JLV College Counseling BlogWhether you are going back to school to get your MBA or just want to take a few classes to expand your knowledge of a certain interest, your choices of educational options are endless. From local community colleges to international work-study programs, there are so many opportunities out there for one to further his, or her, education. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few factors to consider when deciding on what the best fit is for your desired educational experience.

The Price

The price of furthering your education is one of the most limiting factors when deciding on where your new alma mater will be. Two year MBA programs can reach all-in prices over $100,000! Don’t panic yet, though, as there are plenty of options for more affordable educational opportunities along with plenty of financing options. For example, taking classes at the local community college can offer great individual learning experiences at a relatively low-cost (often times under $1000 a class). Another option is to attend a branch campus of a well-known university. This allows you to get a brand name education at a much more reasonable price.

Career Services

Most of the people who go back to school are looking to leverage their education to find a better job or to switch into a new profession. This is where the career services departments come into play. Colleges and universities often have departments that work with their students to help find them jobs once they graduate. The reputation of these departments, their success rates, average starting salaries upon graduation, etc. are all metrics to evaluate and compare when making your decision.

Program Reputation

If you have an idea, or even a general idea, of what you would like to study in college you should pick a school that has relatable programs. Pick a school that has a reputable program with teachers that are known to help their students succeed in and out of the classroom. You may consider bigger schools, like the UC Clermont College, that will have more programs and options for students to choose from.


The alumni network available at an institution is an invaluable resource that you shouldn’t forget to factor into your research. Those who attended a certain institution feel connected with others who shared their same experience and want to help those people succeed. It is often these alumni who are there to offer you advice on how to move forward after graduation, serve as mentors, and sometimes bring you in and set you up with a job. Choosing a college, or university, with a strong alumni network can pay huge dividends. At the very least, a strong alumni network will give you access to smart, engaging, and helpful people.

Picking a new alma mater is often intimidating. You are trusting yourself to make a decision that will impact your life for years down the road. This is a scary idea, but it is also an exciting one as you are setting yourself up for suture success and new experiences. Taking into account these factors will help you make sure you are making the right decision for you and your future.

Emma Sturgis | Guest Blogger at JLV College Counseling

Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2



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