Choosing between different kinds of higher education institutions

January 28, 2013

There are a number of different kinds of schools where one can gain an education past the high school level, and which offer various degree programs and learning opportunities. The sort of certification a person wants, as well as the cost and prestige of the institution, could play important parts in determining what kind of school a student will want to attend,

Here are some of the various kinds of schools and what they entail:

Community college - These schools offer two-year programs and Associates degrees. US News wrote that students should be aware that not all classes attended at these institutions will allow credits to be transferred if pursuing a four-year degree at a regular college, and some scholarship applications will say outright that recipients can't attend these kinds of programs. The source mentioned that these are good options for those trying to get into a specific field, since some kinds of nursing, mechanics and other professions only require this amount of education.

Vocational school - Also called a trade school, these facilities prepare students for specific professions, like an advanced BOCES program. Hands-on trades and crafts that once were the territory of apprentices and journeymen are handled in these schools, according to WiseGeek, including welding, auto repair, beautician techniques and some forms of journalism. Like a community college, these programs usually last two years and can lead directly to professional employment, but most also offer financial aid.

College - These independent facilities offer four-year programs in a variety of different fields. Some specialize in only one school of study, such as liberal arts, theater, math or science, while others offer a range of educational options. These schools are also available through public or private entities, and this will affect the overall price range and financial aid for college available both through the institution and general scholarship channels.

University - WiseGeek wrote that a university is often the same as a college in that it will offer a broad range of educational and degree options, but these facilities tend to be much larger. It's not uncommon to see a university that is comprised of several smaller colleges, all under the banner of one university. For students unsure of what they want to major in, or those looking for massive institutions with more opportunities to meet a diverse array of people and minds, universities - like colleges - can offer up to eight-year programs in a particular field of study.

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