Consider Independent Colleges

There are 3,901 colleges and universities in the United States and 21 of them are within a close distance of the city of Rochester. How do you know which one to choose? For some students, choosing a private, or independent, college is the right choice.


What IS an Independent College?

There are two major categories of schools. Public schools receive a part of their revenue from local or state government. Independent, or private, colleges don't have the same extent of public financial support and raise their own funds.


Aren't Private Schools More Expensive?

Even though private colleges generally list a higher tuition than public colleges, students can sometimes get a better financial aid package at a private college, making it not only affordable but a better deal for them than even a public college. For many students, independent colleges are a good option to consider.


Independent College Advantages

Smaller private colleges pride themselves on providing one-on-one and peer counseling services to their students that help them adjust to the academic workload, the social scene on campus, and the other challenges that being in college presents. Also, class sizes, for the most part, are smaller at private versus public colleges and the professors who teach them are very accessible to students, serving as advisors and often becoming life-long mentors, guiding students in ways that ensure their success.


Financial Aid Realities

It is important to know that the “sticker price” of college is not what most students pay. Financial aid packages determine how much money students will pay - and owe - when they are done. Financial aid includes grants, scholarships and loans for students to cover their education and living costs. It is a mistake to believe that because private schools are more expensive, they are outside of your reach. It is important to review the financial aid packages you will receive from every school to which you have applied and been accepted. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk to financial aid counselors at any college in which you are interested.


Making the Choice

For some, starting at a community college and then either transferring to a four-year college or entering the work force is the perfect path to take. For others, attending a public university near where you live is appropriate. And for many, attending a small college away from home and living on campus proves to be the ideal situation.


This page was contributed by Josanne DeNatale, the president of Cognitive Marketing, a Rochester company that provides marketing services to educational institutions.