Friday, June 19, 2009

Honors College Education at a Bargain Price

Don’t rule out state universities in the south if you are looking for honors college experiences at a far more reasonable price than you will find for comparable educations in the northeast. My recent trip down to Georgia and Alabama included four state universities (Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, University of Alabama-Birmingham and University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa), all with top quality honors colleges that are actively seeking to increase their geographic diversification and draw students from outside the southeast. These top-notch programs are well kept secrets just waiting to be discovered. The number of Fulbright, Goldwater, Marshall and Rhodes fellowship recipients is comparable to that at the Ivy League colleges. What’s more, for the student who is looking for a reasonably priced education, small classes, plenty of research opportunities, yet the campus spirit and excitement that come with attending an athletic powerhouse, these schools should not be overlooked. You can go to each university’s website to check out their honors programs and the types of scholarships they offer.

I also had the opportunity to visit several wonderful private colleges and learned that most offer meaningful tuition discounts, especially to candidates they are anxious to recruit (read: out-of-state!). Two of my favorite lesser known colleges were Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama (one of the Colleges That Change Lives), and Agnes-Scott College, a gem of an all-women’s college in the charming Atlanta suburb of Decatur. Its graduating senior class produced two Fulbright scholars this year and more fellowship recipients than the colleges in the Ivy League.

So think about expanding your horizons and looking beyond the colleges in the northeast and mid-Atlantic states. You may be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the education, beauty of the campuses, lifestyle, and cost!

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