Students choose schools for a variety of reasons, but for many — including NBC newsman Craig Melvin — the financial package is incredibly important.
"My parents did not put limits on where I applied, but they did make it abundantly clear that there had been a certain amount of money allocated for four years of college," Melvin said in an interview for NBC News' College Game Plan series.
"So I put some restrictions on myself."
Melvin applied to a wide range of schools — George Washington University, Morehouse College, Clemson, The Citadel and Dartmouth to name a few — but ultimately chose Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, because it made financial sense.
"It was a smaller school, and they gave me a fair amount of scholarship money," he explained. "We would have had to mortgage our house for me to go [to Morehouse]."
Melvin, who recently interviewed President Trump at the National Museum of African American History, majored in government at Wofford, and credits his experience at the school with solidifying his "bizarre fascination" with American politics and putting him on a path to his current role.
"I would say that has served me well."
But the lessons didn't stop once classes ended. Melvin said he took in just as much from his classmates as he did his professors.
"The lessons I learned in how to deal with different types of people, those have been the lessons that have been most valuable to me," the Saturday TODAY co-anchor said.
"You're in classes with folks who are from different socioeconomic backgrounds, different religious backgrounds, all parts of the country, and you're forced to study with them and lean on them. They lean on you and become your good friends in many cases."
Watch the video above to learn more about Craig's journey.