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Invest Wisely: Four Higher Education Lessons Learned from Buying a House

Invest Wisely: Four Higher Education Lessons Learned from Buying a House
It is critical for institutions to recognize higher education is a big-ticket purchase for many students, and adapt their services to match this reality.

Investing in an education may just be the greatest financial investment of a person’s life. Depending on where you live, it could be similar to buying a home in terms of cost.

In fact, there are many similarities between these two investments and all that goes into the selection process. Both may very well change the course of your life and both are inherently personal and emotional decisions that should be considered very carefully before moving ahead.

1. Trust Me, I’m an Expert

Your realtor and your admissions counselor should be working for you, not their employer, right from the start. The first thing they should do is ask the right questions to get to know you and your needs so they can provide options that make sense for you as an individual. Being told by a realtor that you should love a house because the features are “what everyone is looking for right now” is similar to an admissions counselor promoting certain programs because “this degree will get you the best job” before they even know what you plan to do with the degree. There is no right answer; it’s about the buyer and what best aligns with his or her priorities.

2. Location, Location, Location

Selecting a college with the right reputation is similar to buying a house in the right neighborhood. The location of a home can be perfect for one resident and inconvenient for another. Living in the city is great if you work there, but if you have to drive an hour to the suburbs each day to go to work, well, you get the point. A college may provide the best engineering education money can buy, but if you are interested in philosophy, then so what? Another example is if a gorgeous home is in the middle of a high-crime area, you’ll have trouble finding a buyer in the future, in the same way an employer might not want to hire someone with a degree from an institution known for accreditation issues.

3. “All the Best Features” You’ll Never Use

While buying a house with a four-car garage could be perfect for some, the person who rides a bicycle to work each day would have little use for it. The same is true for your college. That state-of-the-art dormitory and fitness center at the college you attend in the evening after work might be incredible, but these features aren’t of much use to you. Consider the array of services offered by institutions with special attention to those you will actually use. Your college of choice should be one that invests in what matters to you. Besides, your tuition is paying for it.

4. Turning a House into a Home

A house becomes a home through the experiences and memories we attach to it over time. A college is simply a place and a course is structured information. Your education depends on what you do within the place and how you insert yourself into the conversations in the course. A home is the same way. You can stay in a home, or you can live in a home. We welcome people, laughter and love into a house to make it a home. We allow curiosity, criticism and exploration into our college experience to make it unique to us, and valuable.

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