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Is That College Worth It?

By Marty Nemko

You're thinking about going back to school. Fact is, many graduates feel that the main benefit of all that time and money spent on education isn't the learning, it's the diploma. Here's how to assess how much more than a piece of paper a program is likely to give you: Sit in on an advanced class--its students have nearly finished the program--and afterwards, ask what they think of the program. Call a professor (not the less-objective chair or admissions representative) and ask, "Anything I should know about the program that wouldn't appear in print?" Ask the department secretary or alumni association for graduates' phone number or e-mail address. Ask graduates whether they believe the program was worth the time and money.

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