There was a research study done by Gallup and Purdue University in 2015 that surveyed more than 29,000 recent college graduates.

Some of these graduates still owed money on their student loans and some didn’t borrow at all.

The survey asked graduates what they valued most from their college experience.

Results revealed these graduates most remembered the individualized encouragement, feedback and mentorship they received from professors and staff.

They also appreciated when they had professors who were inspiring, and contagiously, passionate about their topic in the classroom.

Here’s the thing, not all higher education institutions have made mentoring and inspiring undergraduates a priority.

Please let me explain.

There are schools your child can apply to that prioritize teaching; however, many well-known schools instead prioritize research.

These two types of schools offer a completely different learning experience.

At schools that prioritize research, college students (undergraduates) are the third priority after the professor’s own research and educating the next crop of PhDs.

Professors are also often told that, even if they are excellent teachers, if they want to keep their job, they need to publish a book or series of articles.

Lecturing is seen as secondary, and even the lousy teachers who have great publications can still get tenure.

In fact, at some schools the more valuable you are as a professor to a research university, the less you teach.

Universities will also sometimes cut the course-load of their top academics and give the job of teaching to graduate students and part-time adjunct professors.

Unknowingly your child may be applying to schools that are “highly-rated” because of their world-renowned, Nobel Prize winning, textbook publishing, TV darling professors, only to find out later that these rockstars only show up to class on first and last day and generally don’t give undergraduates the time of day.

On the other hand, there are colleges where teaching is 100% the emphasis.

Faculty members are expected to be accessible to students at all times.

Classes are discussion-based instead of large lecture style.

Papers are graded and read by professors.

Students and professors coauthor trade journal articles and books.

Office hours are held regularly, at reasonable times and are taken seriously.

Students even hang out with their professors at times and tend to have relationships that extend far beyond the school year.

These relationships lead to more sincere recommendation letters if your kid wants to apply to graduate school and more informed career advice.

How do you know whether your child is looking at a school that emphasizes teaching versus research?

The first way is to simply send your student to a college that does not have graduate programs.

These are often small, liberal arts colleges.

The other way is to find, smaller, special programs at universities that have committed to nurturing undergraduate students.

Not all big universities view teaching college students as secondary, but most big universities are research universities.

Another way is to look up a school and see if they receive more revenue from research grants and hospital services than tuition.

Finally, you can just elect to sit in on a classroom when you and your child visits colleges.

Many families sign up for campus tours without knowing they can also request sit in on a classroom discussion.

Here you can compare, first-hand the difference in relationship between student and faculty at a few institutions.

Once you truly understand the difference between a teaching-focused and research-based school, you may conclude that if you’re going to send your child to college, you should expect that your child is the college’s priority.

The catch with sending your child to a teaching-based school, is that many of these schools are expensive.

I can show you how to send your child to one of these teaching-centric schools and pay the same price as you would pay if you sent your child to an over-crowded state university.

I can do this by maximizing the free money in scholarships and grants you receive regardless of your income and assets.

To find out how I can help you, register for my 68-minute webinar at this link:

Here’s a book and a few articles that also help to illustrate the difference between the two types of schools you can send your kid to:

  1. Looking Beyond The Ivy League by Loren Pope
  2. “Teaching Versus Research” by Peter S. Cahn, The Chronicle of Higher Education
  3. “How I Came Out of the Liberal-Arts Closet” by Eric Anthony Grollman, Chronicle Vitae
  4. “Research Universities: A Dirty Little Secret” by  Lynn O’Shaughnessy
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