In the United States, the complexities of trying to qualify for financial aid while preparing to owe thousands in student loans is the norm.
So much so that a serious question almost never pops into the minds of troubled teens or their parents: Why am I only looking at American colleges?
Did you know that there are quality international schools where the tuition isn't even HALF that of certain United States universities?
Did you know that in certain countries...students pay NO tuition whatsoever?
Nope, this isn't a "too good to be true" moment: Some countries other than the United States simply believe that higher education is something all citizens should have access to.
While we say the same in the United States, it can't help but be noticed that the rate at which teenagers are even applying to college has declined sharply.
Perhaps rather than forego a college education altogether, parents and teenagers can talk about whether there are far more affordable options abroad.
Before you pack your bags, there are, of course, some important things to consider.
Can you prepare yourself to live outside of the United States?
It's tough enough trying to survive as a freshman on an American college campus. But there may also be a different currency to get used to, a new culture to wrap your mind around, and if you pick a non-English speaking nation you may have language issues.
For some, this might sound like a grand adventure. For others a nightmare. Think carefully before applying for a foreign school.
Are you a top student and a hard worker?
Foreign schools have space for international students, but those spaces are EXTREMELY competitive, as is the fight for financial aid in some cases. If you are an underachiever who thinks this is merely a chance to go on holiday, you'll want to look elsewhere for educational opportunities.
If you have an outstanding GPA and a willingness to put in late nights and long hours, you'll be more likely to find in the end that the trip overseas was worth it.
Another supposed downside is the notion that an American employer might not recognize your college choice. However, Millennial graduates can tell you first hand that the job market has not been kind to Americans who stayed home to earn their degrees.
An international degree might be the beginning of international job opportunities. Take the time to make friends and gain references at your school, and you may find that the world has opened to you considerably.