Spring used to be the season when a young person’s heart turned to love, or for the less romantic baseball; but now it’s the college season. ****Warning old man stuff coming please switch your internal voice to creaky & cranky**** Back in my day we took our SATs or ACTs for those headed to the Midwest in the Spring of our junior year and again in the Fall of senior year if we needed a boost (I did). We requested letters of recommendation, filled out applications (by hand for me), sent test scores, and completed the application process shortly after the new year. By the end of February or Saint Patrick’s day at the latest we learned our fate. Thick envelopes were a clear signal for smiles. Thin ones left you hoping for a wait list decision. It was all quick and relatively painless. ****Switch back to normal reading voice mode****
Things have changed. Economists, social planners, and politicians tell us that investing in a college education is the E-ticket* to the future. Since no one wants to live in the past (the great Jethro Tull song notwithstanding) people are applying to college. Not surprisingly the process has gotten expensive and more complicated. The use of the highest scores on individual sections from different sittings (super-scoring) encourages multiple takes of the SAT. Kids take their standardized tests as early as their sophomore year, with many taking it three or more times. The application process is almost completely computerized. Students enter everything once for common application schools and send the info off. While that helps the process, some selective schools require supplemental information or don’t accept the common application. Many colleges encourage (require really) the single subject tests and give extra consideration for AP exams. They don’t necessarily give students course credit for good AP test scores, but that’s a different topic.
If you take a dozen AP classes and the SAT and ACT tests twice as well as the recommended subject tests; applying to six schools costs more than $2,000. That doesn’t include visiting the schools (highly recommended), summer programs, or taking any test prep classes. Add those costs in and applying might cost as much as a semester of in-state tuition.
Which finally brings us to our featured map highlighting the most expensive college in each state of the US. This map comes courtesy of Business Insider where you can also find a list of the schools along with their costs. FWIW, even though my alma mater (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) didn’t make the list, its cost has more than quadrupled since I graduated almost 30 years ago.
As always thanks for reading.
*before 1982 you needed an E ticket for the best rides/attractions at Disney theme parks