Admissions | Before You Apply
Choosing the Right College
Students today have more education opportunities available than ever before, but with so many options, what path to choose can be confusing. To make it all a little easier to understand and hopefully help guide you to the educational institution that works best for you, we've broken down the main types of institutions, programs and many other things you should consider.
Programs & Degrees Defined
Continuing education includes a broad list of learning programs for professional development, career training and personal enrichment.
A certificate program is a series of courses that allow individuals to become certified in a specific skillset. Certificate programs can take anywhere from a few months to two years to complete.
An associate degree is a two-year degree awarded by community colleges, technical/vocational schools, or even at some four-year colleges and universities.
A bachelor’s degree is a four-year degree awarded by a college or university.
A master’s degree is awarded by a college or university for study beyond a bachelor’s degree and takes approximately one and a half to two years to complete. A doctoral degree is a degree awarded by a college or university for study beyond a master’s degree. A doctoral degree is the highest academic degree attainable and typically takes four years to complete. However, some institutions offer degree plans that combine master’s and doctoral programs so that students can graduate in a shorter amount of time.
How many colleges should I apply to?
Dream schools are also known as reach schools. If tuition, grades or location were not a factor when choosing a college, here would you apply? Dream schools are usually more expensive and require excellent grades. Even though your grades might be toward the bottom of the school’s acceptance rate, you can still apply! If you do get into your dream school, then exploring financial aid will be a priority.
A target school is one where you know you should be accepted. When your grades and SAT/ACT score fall within the acceptance rate, then you can rest easy knowing you should be accepted. Keep in mind there are no guarantees in admissions because there are so many variables, but you can apply to more than one target school.
A safety school is one where your academics are above the school’s acceptance rate. You should be fairly certain you will be admitted to your safety school. Make sure on your list of schools you are applying to, there is one that you and your family can afford. You should apply to at least two safety schools.
There is a cost associated with applying to colleges. You will need to pay an application fee per school, send your transcripts (cost varies by high school) and send your SAT/ACT test scores to each school. Be sure to check if you qualify for an application waiver.