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Articles / Applying to College / Should We Be Wary of This For-Profit College?

Should We Be Wary of This For-Profit College?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | March 25, 2020
Should We Be Wary of This For-Profit College?


My daughter applied to several schools for fashion business. The one she really has her heart set on (LIM College) has accepted her with a small scholarship and she is hoping to attend. My husband and I are concerned because this is a for-profit college. Is this something that should concern us? We don't know a lot about it, but many people have told us to avoid for-profit schools.

For-profit colleges often get a bad rap (which can be warranted), so you're wise to be wary. LIM, however, has been around for eons and is generally well regarded as a place that offers courses that focus on the business of fashion that are not always available elsewhere, along with the opportunities to do relevant hands-on internships in New York City, at the heart of the industry. If your daughter is passionate about fashion business, then LIM will enable her to live and study with others who share her interests.

But if finances are a concern for you in spite of the scholarship your daughter received, you should compare the bottom line at LIM with the other colleges to which your daughter has been — or will be — accepted. Fashion Institute of Technology, for instance, which is also in Manhattan, is a highly reputable public school that costs a fraction of what LIM does for New York residents and even a lot less than LIM for out-of-staters. If your daughter applied — and was admitted there — you might want to encourage her to bump FIT to the top of her list, unless money is no object for you at all. Also, if the grant your daughter was offered will play a key role in her decision, be sure to confirm that it's not a one-time deal and can be renewed throughout her time at LIM. (And if a bigger grant would go a long way toward making the price of LIM more palatable, you can appeal the current award.)

One flag for "The Dean" is that the graduation rate at LIM is low. According to the College Board, only 54 percent of entering students graduate within six years. While I don't know why nearly half of the LIM students transfer or drop out, my best guess is that some come to realize that a fashion career doesn't live up to the fantasy they held in high school, while others are daunted by the price of the tuition coupled with the high cost of living in Manhattan.

So although you don't have to put LIM on the list of fly-by-night proprietary colleges that deserve the bad reputation they've earned, if costs are a big concern for your family, you may get more bang for your buck (and less debt at the end of the road) if your daughter enrolls elsewhere.

About the Ask the Dean Column

Sally Rubenstone is a veteran of the college admissions process and is the co-author of three books covering admissions. She worked as a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years and has also served as an independent college counselor, in addition to working as a senior advisor at College Confidential since 2002. If you'd like to submit a question to The Dean, please send it along here.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Check out our forum to contribute to the conversation!

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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