Education

College Gives Shape To Your Dreams

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You have big dreams. You’re going to sell more books than John Green. Propose better theories than Stephen Hawking. Find a cure for cancer. Get to the corner office—then buy it. And, Lucas and Spielberg, look out. Hollywood needs fresh energy.

Dreams are big by nature—and out there. They jump from “I want” to “Look at me” faster than an X-Wing Starfighter. But in the real world, you need a foundation of knowledge, training, and experience to make your dreams fly. You need a college education. It’s not a new idea, but it’s still a part of the American Dream, because it works. Even Lady Gaga started out at New
York University.

The price is too high, you say. Who needs a mountain of debt? True. Annual tuition and fees average $32,405, $9,410 and $3,435 depending on whether you attend a private, public or two-year public college. Little wonder that student loan debt is at an all-time high of $1.2 trillion (according to CNN/Money).

College costs, but it pays even more. College grads earn more than $830,000 over a working career than high-school grads (Federal Reserve, 2014). Beyond earning power, it’s where dreams earn their chops.

“College is where you learn to think for yourself, express yourself and solve problems. It broadens your horizons, exposes you to different viewpoints and gives you an increased level of confidence to deal with life’s ups and downs. The breadth of experience develops your ability to learn for a lifetime,” said Mark Becker, president of Georgia State University (AJC, 2013).

So, you’re going to college, but you still have to find the right one. College is not one-size-fits all. Think jeans, big category, miles of choice. Whether you want to be a game designer, a nurse, or a coastal resort manager, you have to find the school that offers your program and feels right. Fortunately, your best fit could be right here.

Georgia is home to top-ranked institutions, like Emory University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Mercer University and Berry College. Pricey, but remember that private schools often have hefty endowments and more scholarships.

There’s also a strong, public University of Georgia System, 31 unique colleges and universities whose programs and personalities are as different as pecans and peaches. Want to be a nurse and a military cadet? Look at University of North Georgia. Engineering goals? Georgia Tech is one of the best. Were you born to sell? Kennesaw State University has a Professional Sales major. Still thinking about that coastal resort? A hospitality degree from Georgia State could put you there. So could an associate’s degree from a technical college.

Technical education rocks in Georgia. Seriously, it’s now and it works. Its mission is to prepare people for careers, and because they listen to business and industry, their grads get hired. Automotive, culinary, bioscience, gaming design—whatever your passion, the Technical College System of Georgia stands ready to launch your future, says Gretchen Corbin, Commissioner. Its 22 colleges and more than 600 programs are accessible and affordable.

Georgia students have the unique benefits of the HOPE Scholarship and HOPE Grant to make college a reality. Since 1992, the state has invested more $7 billion in helping residents get a post-secondary education.

You can explore Georgia’s college options and funding resources at www.gacollege411.org. Compare and contrast schools on the Internet, but visit to get the full flavor of the campus, its personality, programs and perks. You want to choose wisely. But choose. Your dreams will thank you.