I don’t think most of us can say we are skeptical of for-profit businesses. They provide us goods and services in a free market that make our lives better. However, for-profits in higher education seem to regularly be wrapped up in scandal-they are sort of like the Lindsay Lohan of universities.
Some of these for-profits charge more than a well-known public school, yet do not carry the same pedigree, nor do they always offer the actual training that the students thought they signed up to receive. Statistically, students who graduate from these schools carry higher debt loads and are more likely to default on their loans. More of these students sign up for private loans, which often have higher interest rates (meaning you end up paying way more for your degree than was originally on the price tag).
Many of these schools offer job training, sometimes without the job experience, so not really a good fit for students looking to explore their options in college and get lost in lengthy philosophical discussions. However, even though they are supposedly offering real world training, they don’t always deliver, leaving students with a highly specialized degree that isn’t, well, very special at all. Check out this article about a woman who got duped by a for-profit.
If you want a specialization for a certain field, explore that field first by interning, volunteering or even just interviewing people who work in it. Ask these people where they went to school, what they think about their education and what they would do differently. You may even realize, by exposing yourself to the field, that you are not interested in it at all.
Like any other consumer situation, be a smart shopper. If you are willing to go into debt for school, then your expectations should be very, very high, and the school you choose should bend over backwards for you.
Thanks to blprnt_van for the image!