A Community College Education Is A Good Start
Many people search and search for the University they will attend upon graduation from high school. Eager students look forward to their time at university while parents wring their hands hoping that their children choose to attend a university that is not only close to home but also within their budget limitations. Another worry that parents have when their children decide to attend college is whether or not that university they attend will have the specialized and individualized services that their children were accustomed to receiving in high school. Face it; larger universities tend to be rather impersonal when it comes to the education of their students.
One answer to all those worries and more is to transition your students from high school to a two-year college rather than throwing them to the university wolves so to speak. Many people find that two-year colleges can in fact provide superior educations to four-year universities for those first two years or foundation college level courses. You will not get the specialized or specific instruction in a two year college that is available to upper level students on a university level but most students find the first two years of their college educations focused on getting the requirement and pre-requisite courses rather than the specialized courses in their intended field of study.
Many people also find that those first two years at a community college-transitioning from a small pond to a larger lake-are much easier to handle than going straight from high school to a university-out of the pond and into the ocean. Universities often have lower level classes as auditorium classes. These classes offer little individual instruction and are often sink or swim sorts of classes. Those students who have special learning needs are often lost in the shuffle when entering a university. Community colleges offer smaller classes and ample opportunities for tutoring as well as classes on how to learn to study.
Two-year colleges are also much easier on the budget than most universities. Most people find that community college does not place nearly the financial burdens on families that universities place. Add to that the fact that most community colleges offer very flexible class scheduling and even some courses online and you will find that there are many reasons to consider community college that go well beyond mere budgeting requirements.
Another benefit to students who wish to enter the work force sooner rather than later is that you can actually get a degree or certification in certain programs from a two-year college. This means that you can actually graduate and begin earning much sooner than if you were to attend a four-year college in search of a degree. If you aren't sure you want to invest the next four or five years of your life in pursuit of a degree or you simply aren't ready to commit yourself to one line of work for the rest of your life it is a good idea to spend two years in a community college rather than making the leap straight into a university setting.
If you are considering whether or not a community college or two year education is the best course of action for your specific needs, I really recommend creating a list of pros and cons of each and balancing your budget to see where your needs are most likely to be fully met. Remember you can always transfer to a university once you've completed your two-year college education or at any time during that education as long as you meet the universities admission requirements. Good luck and remember that your college education is one of the largest indicators of your future earning potential so take it seriously.
Online Education Offers Unparalleled Learning Freedom
As the information age rolls on we are finding more and more universities that are willing to invest in the education of students who may not necessarily be in a position to attend classes at that particular university. The offerings are still somewhat limited but there are opportunities to earn associates, bachelors, and even master's degrees strictly though online course work. This is something that was virtually unheard of even a few years ago.
Today's students truly do have more options available to them than ever before if they are willing to invest the time and effort into their studies, there are few limits to the level of education you can receive, even if it has been years since you last attended a university or community college. Even those colleges and universities that do not offer full fledged degree programs exclusively through online learning mediums are beginning to offer many courses online for students with busy schedules and lifestyles. This means that you now have the opportunity to combine distance or online learning with a few night or weekend courses in order to complete your degree even if you have a full time day job and family that needs to see you at home on occasion.
Even if a degree is not something you are necessarily seeking you might be amazed at the wide array of courses that are available for those interested in increasing their depth of knowledge on different issues from the comfort of their own homes. I know that the idea of self-directed online learning opportunities appeal to me on many levels. These opportunities however, are not necessarily a good idea for everyone. We all learn in different manners and some of us learn best by actually being in the classroom and hearing what has to be said or from hands on experience. This type of learning is not necessarily possible when it comes to distance learning in an email or bulletin board type of environment, which is how many Internet classrooms operate.
Online learning is also not a good idea for those who aren't perfectly willing, able, and capable of holding themselves responsible for their learning. Face it, for some of us it is much easier to get up and go to a classroom than it is to force ourselves to log on and pay attention at home. We all have areas in which our discipline is well in hand and others where we seem to have no discipline whatsoever. If you can't hold yourself on task or have difficulties not being distracted by the many other novel things there are to do online you might be best served through an actual classroom experience rather than a distance learning environment like those of online classes.
This is not meant to discourage you from distance learning or online classrooms. In fact, I think these are by far the best option for many working professionals who are seeking to advance their careers, knowledge, and/or earning potential. You will not need to feel as though you are choosing between the future needs of yourself and your family and the limited time you have with your family already. You can schedule around your family time and make the sacrifice when it comes to sleep.
With online classes it doesn't matter if you are in your pajamas or in a suit and tie you can still do the work you need to do online and no one will be the wiser. You also might find that you can squeeze your education into your lunch hour, particularly if you can type and chew at the same time. The truth is that online classes offer superior flexibility to those hoping to further their education. Whether you are hoping to earn a degree or simply wish to broaden your horizons by taking a few online classes, you just might find that the possibilities are limitless once you begin taking these courses from home.
Common Attendance Methods For Returning Students
Are you one of many Americans that dreams of returning to college but fears that option ended for your many years ago? If this is you, then you are in luck. There is no time like the present to go back and pursue your educational dreams. In fact, there has been no better time throughout history than today for those who wish to return to school but cannot give up their careers in order to do so.
Educational opportunities abound today in America and only show evidence of increasing and improving with time and technological advances. There are many options available for the returning students of today that would have been summarily designed to those hoping to further their educational goals in the past. If you are hoping to go back to school consider the options below very carefully before deciding which will be best for you.
The All or Nothing Approach
This endeavor is a giant leap of faith. It involves quitting your job, packing up your life and going back to college with every hope for a better future hinging on your performance. This is a high-risk endeavor for many professionals who have families and careers to consider. However, the rewards will be much quicker with this approach than most of the other available options. You should consider carefully whether this is an appropriate plan of action for your specific needs or if the risk would be too high for your family to endure.
Most community colleges and universities offer a wide assortment of night classes to those students who have daytime careers but are hoping to further their educations. You will find that despite common preconceived notions there is a wide mixture of students in night classes. There are first time college students who simply prefer night classes to early morning classes, retirees hoping to learn something new, and professionals hoping to grab a few more credit hours towards their degree. You never know whom you will find in your night classes but chances are you will find that there is a special sense of community among night school students that you won't find in traditional day classes.
Techno Wizards for Internet Courses
Believe it or not you do not need to have spectacular technical skills in order to take the average online or Internet course. The truth of the matter is that the most technical skill most of these classes require is the ability to visit websites, open email, and download an occasional file. Internet classes offer extreme flexibility for those with busy family and work schedules. This is the option of choice for many returning schools. The good news is that more and more universities and community colleges are offering these sorts of classes in many different fields and majors. The more demand grows for these classes the more classes will be offered.
The fact is that as consumers we have the right to ask for what we want or need. College students are consumers who are paying a hefty price for the product they hope to receive-a solid educational experience. Do not be afraid to request that the university you are attending offer more options for working students if you find that you are in need of a class that isn't offered in a flexible manner. Chances are if you need the course, there are others like you who will as well. If there is enough demand, most universities will oblige the demands of their students.
Are Student Loans Becoming Necessary Evils
When it comes to getting a college education most people can agree that the costs can be staggering at best. Even the least expensive colleges in the nation can add up over a four or five year period of time creating crippling debt for those who do not qualify for some of the better grant programs of substantial scholarships.
The problem lies in the fact that the parents of most traditional college students make too much money to qualify for the free financial aid that is needs based and very few qualify for the limited number of scholarships that are available to students based on merit. Even among those that qualify competition and fierce and there are no guarantees. Enter the student loan. There are all kinds of student loans and unfortunately with rising costs associated with college attendence and the growing necessity of a college degree for success in this country it is becoming more and more difficult to pay the price that is associated with higher education.
There are three types of loans that are commonly found for college students. They include federal student loans, federal plus loans, and private student loans. Each type of loan has advantages and disadvantages that are unique to that particular loan. Below I will give a little information about each of the loan types and whom they may benefit.
Student loans. There are three different types of student loans: subsidized, unsubsidized, and Perkins loans.
Perkins loans are only available to students who display exceptional financial need. These loans are available at a 5% interest rate and are available to both graduate and undergraduate students. Perkins loans are extended through the university you attend and will be repaid to the university unlike the other types of student loans, which are repaid to the lending agency.
Subsidized student loans are loans in which the interest is deferred until graduation or you cease to be a qualifying student. What this means is that while you are responsible for repaying the loan upon graduation the interest on these loans does not begin to accrue until your begin repayment 6 months after graduation or your cease to be at least a half time student of the university. You must qualify based on your income in order to receive a subsidized student loan. While the needs requirements for these loans isn't as grave as those required in order to receive a Perkins loan you must still qualify.
Unsubsidized student loans do not require qualification on a needs basis. You must be a student and enrolled at least half time in order to receive an unsubsidized student loan. The good news however for those who do not qualify based on needs for other student loan options is that this type of loan is available to all qualifying students regardless of need. The interest on these loans however begins to accrue immediately, which means they can really add up over time.
PLUS loans are loans that are taken out by the parents of students who need the funds in order to cover educational expenses. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is the cost of attendence minus any financial aid awards the student has already received. The repayment on these loans begins 60 days after the loan is dispersed and the repayment period can be up to 10 years.
In order to cover the costs involved in education that go above and beyond what the government recognizes as acceptable college related expenses you can opt to go the route of private student loans rather then relying solely upon federal financial aid for your student loan source. These loans require that you qualify in order to receive them based on your credit rather than your need and must be used for educational purposes only. With these particular loans you really need to make sure you read all the fine print as different companies offer different conditions and different perks. You should really take the time and compare prices and options before taking out a private student loan and this should be done only as a last resort.
Student loans for many can be the difference in attending college and getting the education you are hoping for and not being able to pay the high costs that go along with higher education. For this reason you should treat them with respect and not take them lightly.
Financial Motivation For Two Year Education
When it comes to college, you are considering an expensive proposition any way you look at it. There are however, ways in which you can greatly reduce your overall expenses when it comes to getting your college degree. The first method, which in many cases is the most preferred, is by attending a community college for the first two years of your college educational experience. Believe it or not you can literally save thousands of dollars over the course of spending two years on the community college level.
You will hear all kinds of arguments on why it is better to attend all four years at a university. The universities almost always make these arguments. Unfortunately, their opinions are a little bit biased in these matters. Most universities offer equivalent courses with community colleges meaning that the first two years of study should transfer with no problems or snags along the rocky road to your degree.
The universities make money each semester you begin class as a student. It is in their best interest financially to have you from the beginning rather than as a transfer. In fact, many universities offer lower level classes as auditorium classes. They pack more students into classes and have fewer professors or graduate students teaching the courses and maximize their money off the first and second year students rather than those in upper level courses. Yet another reason to consider a community college for the first two years of you education.
Getting back to the expenses of a community college, most community colleges are largely commuter campuses. This means you won't face the high housing costs that are associated with universities, particularly if you are attending college close to home. Community colleges also offer far less distractions that cost additional money than most major universities. This doesn't mean that there aren't ample social opportunities; it simply means that there are fewer of them. This also leaves fewer distractions than universities present when it comes to studying.
Community colleges simply cost less all around. While it would be nice if you could receive a full four year education at this level, they are able, for the most part, to keep expenses down by not requiring the level of qualification that universities require of their professors for upper level courses. You will have excellent, if not superior quality of education at lower levels than you would have on the university level, but you will also eventually need to move on to the university level in order to complete your education.
For this reason, you would do well to save half of your savings over university costs for each of the two years you are attending community college and apply it to your university education. This will ease the burden of the additional costs of the university and feel as though you are paying the same amount for tuition throughout your education regardless of the fact that you are literally saving thousands of dollars on your educational expenses.
Some states have educational savings plans that allow parents to save for tuition at current costs by enrolling. These plans cover two years of community college education and two years of university education. By locking in today's prices you are eliminating the inflation. When you consider the fact that college tuition is increasing at an alarming rate this is by far an excellent way to go. You should check with your state and see if they offer a similar plan to parents of younger children and what the requirements are in order to enroll your child today.
If you are looking for a real value in education whether or not you only go for your two year degree of move on to a university in order to finish your four-year degree you should find that a community college education offers a significant value for the money. Most people find that every penny they spent in a community college was a penny well spent.
Associate Degree Vs Bachelor Degree
There really are few ways to compare a two-year education with a four-year education that would be fair to either degree program. The truth of the matter is that both are excellent for certain things while both also offer serious limitations. When it comes to pros and cons they both have their own set of both that make excellent food for thoughts.
When it comes to a two-year college program there are several things you should consider in its favor before you take the plunge. First of all, you should keep in mind that the degree or certification at the end of your studies doesn't necessarily indicate the end of your education. Two-year degrees are excellent starting points for four-year degrees but also allow you the option to venture out into the workplace with your own skills and knowledge that will allow you greater earning potential than a high school diploma. You will also have the benefit of entering the work place much sooner with an associate's degree than with a bachelor's degree. Most importantly for many who are limited by budgets, two-year colleges offer an affordable alternative for an education or even the first two years of your education.
The biggest cons that most people find when it comes to getting a two-year degree is the growing competition for limited jobs. In fact, it is difficult to remain competitive in any industry when there are more and more entering the work force with bachelor's degrees. It is simply more difficult to maintain a competitive edge with only a two-year degree though it is not impossible. The other obvious con when it comes to two-year college degrees is that fact that some positions will not even consider anyone with less than a four-year degree. This means that you aren't even in the running required to worry about competition.
A bachelor's degree will earn you far greater earning potential in your lifetime than a high school education without a doubt. It will also place you in a position of serious competition within your chosen field or industry. This means that you will often be given preference when seeking jobs over those who do not have degrees or those with lesser degrees regardless of experience. There is also not enough that can be said about the personal confidence that goes along with earning your degree. You will find that you are much more confident on both a personal and a professional level once you've earned your bachelor's degree.
The single largest con associated with a bachelor's degree is the expense. Both in terms of time and money bachelor's degrees exact a price. You should be certain that you are both willing and able to pay that price before setting out to get your degree.
Regardless of whether a two-year degree or a four-year degree is in your personal best interest at the moment neither are a waste of time or effort. I hope that you will eventually seek a four-year degree, as this will give you a competitive edge in business, however, even the smallest improvement in your education level can mean big changes over the course of your lifetime. Sometimes it helps to improve your education in steps. Take one class at a time until you have your associate's degree then repeat until you have your bachelor's degree. Good luck!
Advantages Of Universities
A degree from a university means many thing to many different people. Only you can define the importance of a degree such as this to you and only you can determine whether or not now is the time for you to pursue a university degree. If you are unsure about how advantageous a university degree could be to your life let's look at some of the advantages to a university education in relationship to a community college education.
Money. The first obvious advantage of a university education would be in future earning potential. A four-year degree trumps a two-year degree almost every time. There would have to be exceptional circumstances for someone with a two-year degree to earn more over the course of a lifetime than someone with a four-year degree in the same exact field. While a degree does not guarantee employability, it does improve the odds as well as the income potential that is associated with the field you are entering into. If you have a two-year degree the decision to continue your educational pursuits can be a tough one but it is well worth the effort in the end.
Housing. This is another distinct advantage that universities offer over community colleges. In fact, many universities are now offering housing opportunities to students with families in addition to those students who have no families. Colleges and universities are offering all kinds of value when it comes to housing and meal plans. A great deal of the college experience is missed when you do not live on campus. For this particular reason students wishing to enjoy the experience that dorm life provides often consider universities over community colleges.
Diversity. This is another key component that is often missing at the community college level. International students find no real price breaks between universities and community colleges so they tend to opt for the housing and cultural atmosphere that universities present rather than going with the limiting educational, residential, and cultural experience offered by many community colleges. You will find students of different races, religions, cultures, and nations on the university level-far more than will typically be seen in a community college unless you are attending community college in a very culturally diverse city such as New York.
Culture. This is something that is often lacking on the community college level, as they are largely commuter campuses. You will not see quite the opportunity to experience art, music, the theater, and other wonderful experiences that universities pride themselves in offering to their students. There is nothing quite like the cultural offerings of most large universities and if you get the opportunity I hope you will take the time to stop and experience some of the wonderful things that being in a university community present you with an opportunity to experience.
Research opportunities. On a university level you will have the opportunity to participate in research projects with certain professors if your prove yourself worthy and express an interest. This is something that isn't as likely on the community college level as most professors in a community college are dedicated to teaching rather than research. You will find that the experience of working on a large-scale research project is unlike anything you are likely to experience again if you ever get the chance.
Confidence. There is nothing quite like a college degree from a university to help you become a more confident person both personally and professionally. This is something that really can't be achieved on the community college level but can only be experienced by getting a degree from a university. If you lack confidence when dealing with others or in your career, I hope that you will find that your university education is just the thing to help you feel more confidence on all levels of your life.
These are just a small sampling of the many benefits of attending a university over a community college education. I hope you will carefully consider these when making your decision about which is best for your personal education needs.
Graduate Degree Options
Many people find that in the courses of their careers they wish they had the ability to go back to school for even further education. Unfortunately, not everyone has the good fortune to live in the vicinity of a university that offers graduate level studies in the career they have chosen. Chances are that a good percentage of the population does not and if they do chances are even better that they have very busy personal and professional lives that make intensive graduate studies difficult to pursue at best.
If you are one of the many people that feel you have made your choice and are stuck with your undergraduate degree or that a post graduate degree is simply out of your reach, I hope you will read this article with great interest and learn that there options available to you no matter how far away from a university you live or how little time you have to devote to your graduate studies.
A graduate education is a very intensive course of study that is very narrow and specific. In other words, many students find that their graduate coursework is their favorite by far as it gets into the meat of the subject matter of their interest rather than merely hitting the highlights. Only a small percentage of the population at this point in time has a graduate education. Though this does not necessarily guarantee you any employability it can provide you with very specialized knowledge or skills that will help you perform your job better and qualify you for more interesting and specialized positions in your field of study.
If you would like to pursue a graduate education but feel you are too far from the nearest university that offers a comprehensive graduate education in your field, you might be surprised to find that the nearest graduate level curriculum is as far away as your living room or your favorite Internet caf
Community College Advantages
If you happen to be fortunate enough to live in a community that has a community college you should really make the time in your schedule to check and see what kind of classes they can offer that can help you advance your education and your career. You might be amazed at the different types of courses you can take even on the community college level. I know that I have found some of the courses that are offered and the degree of learning that takes place to be quite impressive. I think that many people who have in the past disregarded the important role that community colleges play in providing an affordable venue for learning will be quite amazed as well.
Community colleges have an undeserved reputation for inferiority when this could not be further from the truth. A good many of the nations nurses are products of community college educations. In many states, the associates degree nursing programs are quite rigorous and provide more clinical experience than most bachelor's degree nursing programs. This means that students graduating nursing school with an associates degree in nursing are often better prepared to deal with patient care than those who have the 'superior degree'. This by no means is meant to disparage B. S. Nursing students at all. In fact, most hospitals will not even consider you a candidate for an administrative nursing position unless you have the Bachelor's degree. This is only meant to point out that associates degree programs can be quite competitive and inclusive despite common misconceptions.
Of course there are other benefits to learning on the community college level, at least for the first two years of your education. One of those benefits that speaks volumes to me is the fact that teachers in community colleges are dedicated to teaching. They are not working on their own research or books. They are there for the purpose of helping you achieve your goals, which means you aren't an interruption in their pursuit of their own goals.
Community colleges also offer an excellent buffer for students who may not have been on top of their game academically in high school or those who are returning to college after a long absence from academia. You won't find the large auditorium classes on the community college level that major universities are famous for offering. You also won't find that teachers do not have time for their students. There is a lower teacher to student ratio in community colleges so that professors will have time to address the needs of students.
Another benefit is that even if you do not go on to get your four year degree after completing your community college education you will find that your earning potential is significantly improved over those who do not have at least a two-year college education. Research also indicates that students who complete a two-year degree program at a community college are more likely to finish and get a four-year degree than those students who begin their educational experience at a four-year university.
There are a few problems that can be associated with a community college education and you should take note of these so that they do not become a problem for you. First of all, some universities do not accept many of the courses that are offered on the community college level as transfer credits. Make sure that you know what courses are required for the university that you are planning to transfer to in order to avoid this. You also may find that you are limited on the courses you can take and the times in which they will be available. Make sure that you have all the limited courses well ahead of time so that you aren't taking another year of classes in order to graduate.
All in all, a community college education can be just as enlightening as a university education if you enter into the process with an open mind and a willingness to learn. I hope you take advantage of this much less expensive option before moving on to university courses if possible.
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