What would it take to earn a college degree you could really be proud of? That is the important question to be asking this time of year as the back-to-school sales are in full swing. Typically college carries a significant price tag when it's all said and done. According to the College Board, students paid an average $22,261 for the 2012–2013 academic year at an in-state, public institution. Since most degrees take a minimum of 5 years to complete traditionally, the price tag for this essential "door-opener" to the American dream starts at a "moderate" $111,305. For most Americans, only the purchase of a home will exceed this price tag. Although, it seems that much more care is put into that purchase than the decision to head off to college. To cross the finish line feeling the money, time and energy was truly worth it; every student should begin with the end in mind, develop both their character and resume, and graduate debt free. Only then does opportunity abound.