The 5 Best High Schools in the U.S., According to U.S. News

High school students in the U.S. have a college readiness problem. According to a report from testing organization ACT, only 40 percent of students taking the ACT met three or four college readiness benchmarks, which correlate with stronger likelihood of success in postsecondary education. However, taking college preparatory core curriculum classes increased students' chances of meeting these benchmarks; 49 percent of "core-taking" students met the math benchmark, for example, compared to 27 percent of non-core-taking students. In short, academic preparation in high school is essential to a good college experience – and a successful career after graduation.

College ROI Report: These 5 Schools Offer the Highest Return on Investment

Money might not buy happiness, but lack of money can sure set you up for a world of misery. Just ask any of the 6.9 million Americans – as of July, 2015 – who hadn't made a payment on their federal students in 360 days. In fact, about 17 percent of all borrowers were severely delinquent in paying their student loans last year. Why? Well, for one thing, it's hard to stay on top of your loans if you can't get a job with a salary high enough to pay them.

For this reason, PayScale's College ROI Report is a valuable tool for entering students. While of course college choice needs to be based on a variety of factors like career goals, interests, and aptitude, thinking about life after graduation, professionally and financially, is also key. College isn't just vocational training, but if you're going to get into debt, you need to set yourself up to get a job that will allow you to pay off those loans.

Which Schools Have the Best ROI for Your Major?

When it comes to picking a major, earning potential is only part of the picture. After all, if you're a born English major, forcing yourself into a STEM field is more a recipe for discomfort than a guarantee of riches down the line. Once you know what you want to study, you'll need to find the school whose graduates in that concentration find the most success after graduation.