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Options in Higher Education: Comparing 5 Different Types of Colleges

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Community college. Online degrees. Technical school. Which should you choose? The answer to that is both simple and complex, but for the sake of your career, it’s imperative that you find the right fit for you. Different types of college programs teach you different skills. The best way to know if you’ll learn what you need to know for your career is to look at each type of school. If that school offers what you need to gain the career you want, that’s the type of school you should apply to. However, first you must know the difference. Here’s a look at five different types of colleges and how they compare to other types of schools.

1. Community College

Community colleges come with a lot of advantages. Most students go to community college because they tend to be cheaper than even the local university, according to Texas Southmost College. Aside from the fact that these students save money on tuition, a local community college allows students to live at home with their parents. It also allows them to get their basic core courses out of the way. This saves them a bunch of money in the long run. Many students can even leave their local community college with a two-year associate’s degree before transferring to a university to get a bachelors.

2. Universities Public

Students attending universities typically intend on getting a more advanced degree than the associate’s degree. That’s one of the chief difference among community colleges and universities, according to Study.com. These institutions often have degree programs going up to the doctorate level. They also have more stringent admission requirements. Many careers actually require a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, which makes this option attractive for people who are career oriented. Conversely, those who want to go on to the Ph.D. level will also find this environment attractive.

3. Online Colleges

Online colleges are attractive to people who can’t physically show up to class due to work or personal constraints. Convenience is the biggest advantage that online colleges have compared to most community colleges and universities, according to the eLearning website. While many potential students find them attractive for this reason, some would-be students may fear that they will not be able to pursue the degree track they want due to the constraints of the online environment.

To set that fear aside, just know that anything is possible when it comes to getting an education in the online world. For example, a person wanting to go into nursing may feel that because this line of study is hands-on, it can’t be studied online. However, that’s not entirely the case as Bradley University’s online nurse practitioner school demonstrates. Most subjects can be studied online, which is why so many professional adults opt for online colleges.

4. Private Colleges and Universities

According to Scholarships.com, private colleges have much to offer students. They tend to have excellent reputations. The students are involved in campus life, their classes, and the community beyond. Many even boast a close-knit university community. Students interested in being in this kind of environment will find it enriching and will have the opportunity to make connections with important professors and other campus community members. These ties can not only mean better access to good graduate schools, but also future business contacts.

5. Career-Specific Schools

Career-specific or vocational schools are a good option for the person who has a definite trade in mind as a career. And what kinds of careers are we looking at? According to U.S. News and World Report, people attend trade schools when they’re interested in career tracks like auto mechanics, welding, or plumbing. The classes in these programs are hands-on, and subjects like math and English are only pursued to the extent that they support the student’s career choice. (The math would be applied math or English would be technical communication for example.)

Additionally, careers like these are really fast-track careers. Most students can finish a program in 12 to 21 months, depending upon the area of study. These schools also are excellent at placing students in jobs.

No one type of school is right for all students. The most successful students pick the right kind of college for their career and life goals. For example, a person interested in teaching German at the college level would attend a different type of college or technical education program than the would-be welder. The key to finding the right fit for you is to try to find the program that can best put you onto the career track that you want to be on.

About Ashley Hill

Ashley Hill is a Scholarship Search Strategist who is passionate about teaching overwhelmed students (K-12, homeschool, adult, international, undergraduate, and graduate students) how to use their talents and achievements to increase their chances of winning scholarships.

If you know students or families preparing for college who need scholarships, share these tips and strategies!

About the author

Ashley Hill is a Scholarship Search Strategist who is passionate about teaching overwhelmed students (K-12, homeschool, adult, international, undergraduate, and graduate students) how to use their talents and achievements to increase their chances of winning scholarships.

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