Why Attend a Highly Resourced College?

With over 3,300 American colleges and universities to choose from (and even more in Canada and overseas), the task of selecting a school may seem daunting. The Reach High Scholars Program has created a list of around 100 colleges and universities that are generally deemed to be "highly resourced," prestigious and well endowed—which means that, contrary to popular belief, they are very affordable. Focusing primarily on these schools can help narrow the list for students who wish to get the most out of their college experience while paying as little as possible. Students may be wary of applying to such colleges because of the low acceptance rates, high sticker-prices, anxiety about thriving or feeling supported, and other questions or doubts about whether it's ultimately "worth it." Below you can find a few major benefits of attending a highly resourced college, which we believe make navigating the college application process more than worth it. It may lead to some rewarding results and life-changing opportunities.

1. Generous financial aid offerings – highly resourced colleges are less expensive and want to help students who need it

Most highly resourced colleges and universities (particularly private) have large endowments built over decades from alumni donations, which means they have more financial aid to spread across smaller student bodies and therefore can meet a larger portion of a student's demonstrated need. At many of the nation's most competitive colleges, around half the student body receives some form of financial aid for all four years, and many of these packages contain large grants from the college that students will not have to pay back. Most aid at competitive colleges is need-based, although many also offer merit-based scholarships.

2. Challenging academics and an intellectually stimulating community – being surrounded by other motivated students is fun

By nature of being selective, many competitive colleges have high standards for admission, which tends to result in a community made up of students who share a love of learning, commitment to active global and local citizenship, and a strong work ethic. What's more, many professors at competitive colleges are top researchers, scholars, and artists in their fields. Small seminar-style classes yield more direct contact with them and allow you to sustain rewarding intellectual relationships with your professors—as well as with your fellow students.

3. Access to more sophisticated resources – enjoy the best of facilities and dorms

Competitive colleges often demonstrate a high commitment to offering their students only the best in resources to equip them to explore and develop their interests both in and out of the classroom. In addition to dedicating a large portion of their endowment toward financial aid, highly resourced colleges also invest considerable amounts in resources and facilities. The results include extensive libraries and research databases, state-of-the-art lab equipment, beautiful performance halls, and top-of-the-line sports facilities. Attending a competitive college affords you easy access to tools that will enrich your academic and extracurricular interests.

4. Networking and career development opportunities – access incomparable job placement and alumni connections

Of course, it’s inevitable that you will think about what happens after the four years you'll spend at college. In an increasingly competitive job market, nervousness about employment and "what comes after" is understandable and normal. Attending a competitive college grants you access to career development services that benefit you both while you are at college and after graduation. Well-trained career advisers can help you regardless of where you find yourself in this process—from résumé services to practice interviews to career fairs and panels to advice on searching and applying for jobs and internships.

Many career development centers also provide access to lists containing information on thousands of internships that allow for real-world occupational experience while still in college.

Finally, attending and graduating from a competitive college also provides you another invaluable resource: your fellow alumni. Competitive colleges foster strong alumni relationships, both between the school and its alumni and between alumni and each other. The result is an extensive support system of alumni who—along with your faculty—can provide networking and other career-enhancing opportunities that will better enable you to integrate your education and experiences into your post-college life and career.