Surprisingly, one of the worst fears that high school students have about the college search process often comes after the acceptance letter.
“The biggest worry of college-bound students and their families is that students will get into their first-choice schools—and the families won’t be able to pay for it,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s senior vice president-publisher and author of The Best 376 Colleges, a publication that has consistently named Randolph College as one the nation’s top colleges.
Franek served as the keynote speaker for Randolph’s 2012 Heick Symposium on College Admissions in February. About 80 high school guidance counselors from around the country, and one from China, attended the event, which offered panels and lectures exploring contemporary trends in the college search process. It was funded by the College’s Heick Symposium Fund, an endowed fund created through the estate of Betty Jo Denton Heick ’45.
The College chose Franek for his broad knowledge and unique perspectives on the college search process. “Because he’s the editor of a guide that is such a bible for those looking for a college, we knew he would be able to provide good information that would help high school counselors as they work with families,” said Sandra Bartholomew, vice president for enrollment management.
Franek’s lecture, “Finding the Best Fit College: Understanding Student Hopes, Worries, and Needs in College Research, Testing, and Financial Aid,” detailed the latest data from The Princeton Review’s annual survey of high school students and their parents. While the survey revealed anxiety about affording college, it also showed that students set a priority on finding the right place for them. “They are united in finding the school that’s the best fit for them, not just the school that is the hardest to get into,” Franek said.
There is good news for those anxious about affording college. “The cost of college hasn’t gone down, but so many schools have made it an absolute priority to make costs as reasonable as possible,” Franek said. “They might have a very high sticker price but can make it affordable through financial aid.”