Choosing The Right College For You

Choosing The Right College For You


Preparing for college can be an exciting event for any high school student. But, it can also be a daunting task especially if the high schooler isn’t certain what his or her course of study will be. In addition, a college or university education isn’t for everyone as trade schools, online schools, and junior colleges may open up a door of opportunity instead. Let’s take a look at five options of higher learning that every family should know about.

college searchFive Types of Schools

Colleges — The majority of students who are seeking a bachelor degree attend a college. Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) are the two most popular degrees offered; some schools also confer an Associate degree for two-year students.

Universities — Schools offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of majors (e.g., business, medical, language arts, and humanities) have the university designation. Some universities also offer doctorate studies.

Community/Junior Colleges — These schools offer two years of college study typically leading to an Associate degree. In many states students can start off at a community college and then transfer their credits to a state college in order to obtain a bachelor degree. In certain states schools offering two-year degrees are called Technical Colleges.

Vocational/Career Schools — Schools offering specialized training for hair dressers, truck drivers, welders, automotive mechanics, medical assistants and other career options are called vocational or career schools. Training can range from several weeks to as long as two years, depending on the course study and certification requirements. Upon successfully completing the program, students will receive a license, certificate, and in some cases, an Associate degree.

Online Schools — The online education revolution is transforming the way people learn. Students can take just about any level of course available to them offering certification, licensure, associate, bachelor, or a grad degree. The advantage of this type of schooling is evident — most will allow students to learn on their own time and at their own pace.

College Search — Making It Easy

No one wants to spend days, even weeks doing a college search therefore narrowing down your choices into three categories will expedite the process. Three categories recommended by college preparation experts are:

Schools You Can Definitely Get In — List 2 or 3 schools where your enrollment application will absolutely be accepted.

Schools You Can Probably Get In — List 4 or 5 schools where you stand a good chance of being accepted.

Schools You Would Like To Attend — List 7 or 8 schools you’d be interested in attending regardless of whether you think you will be accepted or not.

If you can afford to apply to as many as 16 schools (application fees do add up), then go ahead and apply to all of them. Otherwise, consider applying to 3 schools on each list. To keep track of the application process use tracking tools and a college cost comparison wkst (FREE download) to manage the process. Also, learn about the financial aid qualifications to apply for assistance and the options you have to finance higher education.

Selecting a course of study will help high school students narrow down the list of schools to consider. Once that is complete, categorizing the schools and applying will soon yield several acceptances with the final steps to choose the school and arrange financing.


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Categories: College Planning

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".