November 19, 2010 | Suzanne Shaffer | 2 Comments According to a recent study published by the College Board and Art & Science Group, LLC, many families are unrealistic about covering the cost of an expensive college education. Many students admitted that paying for the education at a more expensive university would put a financial burden on their families, but they were still willing to risk it based on their perceived value of that education. Being realistic about earning potential after graduation is an important part of your college decision. Here are some tips to help make that decision: 1. Study various career paths Research the jobs that involve your intended major. Don’t limit yourself to the obvious. You might find a career path that you had not even considered. Related article: “8 Steps to Finding the Perfect College” 2. Investigate the earning potential of the career These figures can be easily obtained through the Bureau of Labor Statistics projected earnings charts. Be realistic. You won’t be paid at the top of the scale right after graduation. Use the lowest percentage for your figures as a conservative estimate. 3. Learn about loan repayment If you are borrowing money to attend college, don’t just assume you will make enough money to pay back those loans. Research repayment amounts (and monthly payments) to determine how much of your salary will go towards student loans. 4. Consider that life is more than dollar signs If you are making five figures and employed at a job you detest, the money won’t soothe your misery. Being financially secure is everyone’s goal, but sometimes working at a job you love its weight in gold. A career as a teacher can be as rewarding as being a doctor. You know yourself better than anyone elseâ€”pursue your passion. 5. The highest priced education is not always the best A high-priced higher education is not always worth the dividend it pays. Investigate the cost of tuition and weigh that against your future earning potential. It is wise to consider community college, investigate trade schools, evaluate state college cost versus that of private universities, and even consider online accredited learning. That degree from a so-called prestigious university might look great on your wall; but is it worth cost? Be a wise consumer and don’t go into debt on the promise of a five-figure salary. Study the statistics, put some thought into the process, and make an informed decision. What experiences have you had on this topic? Tell us in the comments below!