I’ve written before about how much I wish more colleges would stop marketing and start being more genuine, that more schools should use their contact with students to help them make good decisions, rather than sell to them.
Muhlenberg College’s “The real deal on financial aid” is a great example of a college getting this right.
Most colleges’ financial aid websites sell the student on the affordability of the school. They’ll mention statistics about how many of their students receive financial aid, then list important dates and deadlines, and stop there. But Muhlenberg uses this page as an opportunity.
1. They’re teaching students how the process works.
If money is a factor in your college search and it will impact your final choice, you should make sure to apply to colleges where you are clearly in the top third to top quarter of the applicant pool. If you are just squeaking in for admission, odds are your financial aid, if it comes, will be mostly aid you give yourself (i.e., loans or work).
2. They’re giving good advice, not selling.
If a college gives you a great package, they probably really want you and that's a great feeling. The trick, as with many things in life (and you might as well learn this now rather than later) is to figure out how to want what you can have instead of what you can't.
3. They encourage students to make the best decisions, whether or not that choice is to come to Muhlenberg.
Whether you sacrifice a lot to attend one of your more expensive options or take the money and run to your least expensive option, you will find that the life lessons have begun before you even sit in your first college classroom. There are no right answers, only choices. Choose wisely—and good luck!
If Muhlenberg is willing to be this helpful before you've even applied, imagine what they must do when you actually enroll.