Thursday, August 13, 2015

Career College vs. Community College vs. University



Which School Should You Choose?

You've decided to go back to school. Now, you have to decide which school you will go to, what degree program you are interested in. To do this, you need to know what your final goals are. Do you go to a university, a community college, or a career college? What is the difference? 

Where You Go Is Not
Who You'll Be
The first thing to decide is what you want your degree to do for you. Do you want to prepare for a good paying job? Get into management? Build your own company? Many people return to school to refresh or update their skills. Their jobs have been outsourced, downsized, or eliminated.
For people who are only interested in learning enough to get a decent wage, the career college is a good choice. For those who want smaller classes, lower prices, and an associate's degree before entering a large university, community college might be the right choice.
For those who want or need a bachelor's or master's degree for their goals, a university would be a better choice.
Financial aid is available at most career and community colleges, as well as universities.

What is a Career College?

A career college, also known as technical school or vocational school, often privately owned, is usually an eigtheen month to two year program of study that only covers the content you will actually need in your chosen field. There are no extra general education courses such as history or government.
The exact courses required depend on the degree program, as it does in all higher education. This allows the student to complete the course of study quickly and get into the job market.
Career colleges usually confer an associate's degree on graduates. This choice may be more expensive than the community college, but may provide a better 'career' education, depending on the school and the course of study. If the career college is accreditted, the school is usually eligible to offer federal financial aid to the students.

What is a Community College?

How to Become a
Straight-A Student
Community colleges are usually state funded, and often affiliated with one or more universities where their students can continue their education with minimal loss of credits.
Because they are state funded, community college courses are often the best buy for the education dollar. Since they are part of the state college system, they do require some general education courses, but a major part of the courses required for a degree program will be courses in that field.
If the degree plan is followed, an associate's degree from a community college will usually require two years of study. Other than the financial savings, community colleges offer smaller campuses, smaller classroom, and a lower student to instructor ratio.

What is a University?

A university is a four year, degree granting institution of higher learning that may, or may not, be a part of the state college system.
Private universities are more expensive than state universities, and while there may some value to ivy league degrees, any accreditted college bachelor's degree will provide you with a solid education.
Universities offer classes where the number of students in a classroom may number in the hundreds.
College Prep Comprehensive
for SAT and ACT
University campuses often cover large tracts of land, requiring students to use busses, or run from one class to another if they are not careful in developing their class schedules.
On a large campus, it is best to schedule a break between classes to prevent being late to the next class due to the distance from one class to the next.
All university students take a two year general course of study in addition to degree specific courses. Some jobs, such as teaching and computer programming, require at least a bachelor's degree.


Which is Right for You?

Which type of higher education campus you decide to attend depends entirely upon your reasons for attending college.
If you want to get your education and get a job in a short amount of time, the career college may be your best choice.
Some technical jobs will require at least an associate's degree, available from all three types of colleges.
Other jobs, such as accounting, require at least a bachelor's degree.
College instructors are usually required to have at least master's degree, and university instructors may be required to have a doctorate.

General Advice to All College Students

Whether you choose a career college, a community college, or a university, be sure you stay in touch with your college advisor. There is nothing worse than already being in the middle of your (supposedly) last semester and learning you have to take one more class. Think this can't happen? It happened to me. I had to have an additional science class. I studied myself half to death to CLEP a required course, so I could graduate on time.

Many classes are scheduled only in the fall or only in the spring of even or odd years. Your advisor can help you make sure you take these classes at the appropriate time to prevent having to return for another semester or two after you thought you would be done.
Which type of school is best for you? Decide on your goals, then decide.
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