Finding The Right College Fit: Financially, Academically & Socially

Time machine moment: Forty years ago, you could “work your way through college” (at least at many state colleges and universities) with a 15 hours-a-week job paying the 1977 minimum wage. The entire cost of attending school was about $1,500 back then.

Today, you’d have to work 72 hours a week at the current minimum wage to cover the average $28,000 annual cost of an average state school secondary education.
These figures come from Jay Benanav, founder of College Inside Track – a higher-education consulting organization that helps students “find the right college fit – academically, socially and financially,” according to its website

Benanav says that about one in three college students transfers to another school at some point. Transferring to School B usually involves sacrificing at least some of the credits earned at School A, which prolongs the time and money it takes to get a degree.
Staying in school longer also boosts student debt, not to mention costing a year or two of real-world income.
College Inside Track’s clients transfer to new schools much less often because they’re more likely to select their best college “fit” the first time. By staying at the same school they earn their degrees sooner, and for less, and can start life without a backbreaking load of student debt hanging over their heads.

“After trying to help three sons prepare for college, I found out there wasn’t a good way to get a handle on all the information we needed, even online,” says Benanav. So he started College Inside Track, where he and his staff maintain relationships with many academic advisors and financial experts, and develop knowledge about hundreds of colleges.
This helps College Inside Track clients several ways: Benanav says that 97% of College Inside Track students are accepted by at least one of their top three college choices and “Last year, we helped save families an average of $18,872 per year off the college sticker price.”

Different colleges look for different things in prospective students, and schools are more likely to provide financial assistance to those with the strengths they favor.
College Inside Track knows the kinds of strengths and backgrounds different schools value and can provide better insights and more accurate advice based on a student’s academic record and extracurricular background.

People generally find College Inside Track via its website, but most client consultations are one-on-one. The staff connects with students and families in person, on the phone, or via Skype and other modes of videoconferencing with clients all over the world.
On an even more personal level, a student who may be more socially or politically conservative, or somewhat introverted, might be uncomfortable at a very liberal school, and vice-versa. So, College Inside Track likes to be aware of the harder-to-measure “personalities” of both students and colleges to make the right fit more likely.

With the cost of a college degree these days, it’s probably worth your time to see if you’re on the right track with helping your child through the college selection process. You can start now with the information and interactive tools you’ll find on

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