By Nathan, on August 9th, 2011
President Obama told us that college will be increasingly important to our well-being in the coming days. On some points this is certainly true. If you want to find work, it is definitely true that a degree from a well-established, Accredited University will do wonders for you. If you want to be an entrepreneur, perhaps not so much, but that is another article for another day. However, there are some cautions here. There are hundreds of For-Profit Colleges (i.e. University of Phoenix, DeVries, ITT Tech, Chamberlain, College America) out there. Some are worth their salt, some are nothing but debt pits. Here are some things to consider before you decide to enroll in one of those omnipresent advertising colleges. 1. Make sure that the career you want to train for can provide you with an income capable of covering your student loans. This is important. Student loans cannot be canceled out by bankruptcy like other loans and debt. And at for-profit colleges, you can incur an immense amount of debt (Debts as high as $250,000 have been regularly reported). 2. Make sure the Diploma offered by that University is worth the paper it’s printed on. Many of the degrees offered by these colleges aren’t accepted by the jobs that you would use the degree to get into. This is especially true of medical and professional careers. 3. Check the accreditations that the college boasts. Did you know that accreditations can be bought? Unless the University boasting the accreditations is a well-respected nonprofit University that has been around awhile (Universities like State and Community Colleges qualify here) don’t take them at face value. 4. If the degree you want requires lab work, like medical, science and mechanics, make sure it is acceptable lab situations before joining the College. Talk to others who have gone through the program. Did they get to do lab work in a hospital or doctor’s clinic? Or was it college lab only? In careers where health or critical repairs where life and death are concerned, hiring managers want to make sure the lab work you have been doing is of high quality and pertinent to the work you will be doing.
It does you a world of hurt to go through a degree program while running up debt, only to have it mean nothing to the field you want entrance to. Tread carefully.