Choosing the Right Higher Education Program for You

The spring before high school graduation can be one of the most difficult semesters. Not only are you leaving the group of friends you have grown up with and are working to officially tie up loose ends necessary to graduate, but you are also preparing to enter the adult world. As a high school senior determining what you are going to do with your life after graduation, there are a lot of important decisions to take into consideration.

Possibly the most important of these questions is: are you going to pursue higher education? And if so, how do you determine which type of higher education institution is right for you? Identifying which type of higher education program is right for you can be difficult, especially if you have limited sources of advice from people who’ve been there. Below is a short list of options to consider outside of the traditional four year public school.

Liberal Art Colleges

Interested in a little bit of everything? A liberal arts college might be the type of higher education you are looking for. These schools tend to focus on students gaining a very broad amount of knowledge in a number of disparate fields, working closely with students from differing majors, and developing strong technical writing skills. Liberal arts colleges tend to have requirements for students to take classes outside of their major and typical graduates usually have a major and one or two minors in widely divergent fields.


of liberal arts colleges are considered highly versatile and are typically able to succeed in any career path because of this exposure to many contrastable ideas throughout their education. In fact, over 55% of hiring managers say they prefer graduates with a broad education because they can work with people of various backgrounds well and they think outside of the box.

Technical/Vocational Schools

For some people the idea of learning about everything seems exceptionally undesirable. Students who would rather learn a skill that enables them to acquire a well-paying job and call it a day might find a good fit in a technical or vocational school. Technical schools were designed for this – they were developed to train people to complete specific jobs that companies are hiring for.

Often times, they focus on the practical, hands-on skills rather than the academic education. That being said, employment rates for students coming out of technical programs tend to be much higher than that of other higher education institutions. Technical/vocational degree programs can range from cosmetology, to IT, to mechanics. Really the certifications are limitless.

Online Education

When many people think of online education they tend to think of somewhat sketchy, unaccredited universities that are just devised to take people’s money and offer no real benefit. Although in the past that may have been the case, nowadays online education programs are on the rise and being offered by credible institutions. A number of them are even degrees most people would not typically associate with online classes such as political management and nursing.

The number of people getting online degrees is on the rise too. According to Ohio University, over 6.7 million students are enrolled in online education programs. They elect this type of higher education because it enables them to learn in a non-traditional setting i.e. when they want and where they want. Part of the reason online programs are gaining so much traction is because they enable people to have schedules outside of school such as full-time jobs or families.

Community College

Community colleges offer a lot of students that want to attend college on a campus some form of financial relief. Typically community colleges are a much cheaper form of education and a great way to complete an associates degree before either transferring to a larger school to complete a bachelor’s degree or entering the workforce. Furthermore, most moderate to large cities have a community college, meaning it is possible to live at home at attend college. Although for most young adults this isn’t the most ideal situation, the money saved can really add up.

Private College

Attending a private college may be a great option for students looking for a very personalized college experience. In these institutions the students – not the politics – are the priority, leading to a unique culture and typically rigorous educational standards. These schools tend to be more on the expensive side; however, a number of merit-based scholarships are usually offered that can really take the edge off.

Private colleges do offer many benefits to their students. Professors working for private colleges are usually there to teach rather than do research, meaning they are going to have high classroom expectations and small class sizes. At some smaller private colleges, even intro classes have less than 30 students. The small schools also typically lend themselves to very tight-knit communities. Most students want to be involved somehow, whether it is through a few different clubs, working for professors, or by participating in classroom discussions.


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