Choosing the Right University for Your Student

If your child is looking to go directly into a skilled profession, a technical or community college may provide him the skills he wants. However, if he is looking to go into a profession that requires a four-year commitment, he needs to go to a four-year university. You need to talk with your child about what he is looking for in a college and what his goals are for his career. Talk about about the learning and living environments and arrangements. Don’t be afraid to talk about money concerns and financial aid. Read the literature from the colleges and universities. This is a very important decision. If you have these honest conversations early in the junior or senior year of high school, you will be so much further ahead when you try to make a final decision.

Public vs. Private Schools

· Public colleges or universities receive their primary funding from the states they are located in – the other portion comes from tuition, student fees and endowments from alumni, friends and businesses. Students are eligible to receive federal financial aid, scholarships and loans.

· Private schools generally cost more because they do not receive the same primary funding from the state and federal government. Most of their funding comes from tuition and fees paid by the student or through endowments and contributions from alumni. Students are eligible to receive federal financial aid, scholarships and loans.

Technical Schools

Technical Schools are schools that provide job training or occupational training:

Career Training certifications (less than two years)
· Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree

· Less costly than a four-year school

· Can be public or private

Community/Junior Colleges

Community/Junior Colleges are schools that provide students with a two-year program:

· Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree

· Programs that can be transferred after two years to four-year schools

· Worker training and retraining certification programs

· Occupational and technical programs

· Less costly than a four-year school – and that’s a big plus for some people.

· Liberal arts courses (psychology, sociology, math, English, foreign language, etc.).

· Enough training and education to enter directly into their chosen field.

· Can be public or private
Some programs strictly prepare students in their career choice similar to a technical school.


Universities/Colleges are schools that can award a two-year associate or four-year bachelor’s degree:

· The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees are the two most frequently awarded, but a variety of bachelor’s degrees by other names are also granted. (bachelor’s degree programs in some fields of study or at some institutions can be longer than four years).

· Broad selection of academic programs

· Advanced studies such as the master’s or doctorate degree.

· Four-year institutions cost more than two-year colleges (costs are based on tuition, room and board and student fees)

· Can be public or private

Another consideration: If your child needs academic remediation in certain subjects, make sure the institution will provide support so that your child will have academic success.



Pradeep is an international development specialist and author of several publications on socio economic development. Pradeep is a regular contributor to online article sites on the topics of on line education, underserved peoples, scholarship and educational excellence.

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