First, I think that too many kids are now going to college (about 66% of high school graduates). They do this because it is such a socially acceptable way to avoid having to work and grow-up. The alternatives to college are so rarely discussed with high school students and yet the irony of it is that today is far easier for an 18 year old to start a successful new business and college is a far poorer value than it was a few decades ago.
Then college recruits get things bass-ackwards – they decide on a college first and then reluctantly choose a major. Makes far more sense to decide first on a practical major and then a college that is a good frugal choice for pursuing this major.
But if one is going to major in one of the silly degrees (journalism, sociology, human sexuality just to name a few) then perhaps she should skip or postpone college and try earning a living, starting a business and experiencing life. If one is ready to pursue a practical (and generally more difficult) degree in engineering, science, business or other degree where graduates are in big demand then college can be time and money well spent.
And then unless a student’s parents are so wealthy that they don’t mind pissing away $200,000 to match the $200,000 they just spent on their new stereo (rather than a $200 almost-as-good stereo) they should choose a public school close by.
But the nastiest result by far is when Billy attends an expensive college, gets a silly degree and goes deep into debt in the process. I see too many kids in these circumstances that have really dug themselves a hole.