Check in to your new dorm room – and write another check?  College Orientation Comes With a Hefty Price Tag

In response to this article/blog in the Wall Street Journal about colleges fees, I offer the following advice: Get a fee list from the schools you are considering from the previous year and add that in to your total cost comparison.

A few years ago Augustana did away about half a dozen random fees – activity fees and dorm check-in fees and on and on.  Families barely figure out how to pay for the first term of school. They load up little (or big) Johnny in the car, pull up to the residence hall and BAM! another fee!  Kudos to Augustana’s administration for limiting these fees.  Granted, the fees were rolled into the overall tuition and fees number – but at least there aren’t a bunch of random of add-ons costs to the tune of hundreds of dollars as families are trying to acclimate (and afford) to having a college


The blog listed above has to do with an orientation fee many colleges require for parents and students to “transition” from high school to college.  I guess I feel like this is just part of the J.O.B of the college – to be there for the parents and students and provide a transition, not for an extra fee, but because if a smooth transition saves even one student from quitting – the college has probable made up the cost of the transition/orientation program in the revenue generated from that student.

But…maybe I’m just insular in the sense that this type of thing – providing support and encouragement and information to the WHOLE family – is what great private liberal arts colleges do.  Our mission statement – to develop qualities of mind, spirit and body – seems to me to include family.   And it’s hard to feel good in your spirit when your family is scraping the bottom of the bank account to pay for orientation.


About meghancooley

Meghan Cooley has worked in admissions for over 15 years. She's served in a variety of roles, ranging from tour guide to admissions counselor to her most recent position as Director of Admissions and Recruitment. Through many admissions cycles - she's experienced the ebb and flow of the higher education landscape in the Midwest, become an expert on family dynamics within the college search, guided many through the details of the college search and witnessed the joy and disappointment of student college decisions.

Now, as the Director of Recruitment Communication and Manager of social media at Augustana College, Meghan and her team of talented students focus on marketing Augustana to prospective families, educating families about the college search process, and enhancing professional development opportunities in the profession. She is passionate about increasing diversity (socio-economic and ethnic) in private higher education, alleviating the fears and frustrations that often come with a college search (especially in first generation families), and above all, helping students find the best fit for them as they explore all the educational opportunities available.

Meghan often invites guest bloggers mostly including Augustana admissions staff and current students to contribute. The talented students and staff offer a perspective in the trenches of the college search and college experience.

A 1999 graduate of Augustana College, Meghan holds Bachelor's Degrees in English and Spanish. An avid international traveler, she recommends hiking the Inca Trail to Manchu Picchu in Peru, eating Gelato in Rome, Italy, and seeing an opera at the Volksoper in Vienna, Austria. She is married to Augustana graduate and Modern Woodmen project manager, Luke Cooley. They have three sons, Charles, Oliver and Bennett.

2 responses to Check in to your new dorm room – and write another check?

  1. Hello! I know this is sort of off-topic but I had to ask.
    Does operating a well-established blog such as yours take a large amount of work?
    I’m completely new to operating a blog however I do write in my diary everyday. I’d like to
    start a blog so I can share my experience and thoughts
    online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for new aspiring blog owners.


    • meghancooley

      Augustana uses a program called WordPress for our blogging. It’s easy to navigate. The hardest part is believing you have interesting topics others want to hear about…unless you post for yourself, which I have heard of people doing. Good luck.

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