Brighter Futures

Types of Colleges and Universities

Life after graduation is different for everyone, depending your career path and your needs and wants, you might be headed in a completely different direction than some of your classmates. There are a wide range of schools to choose from, each with a different purpose, we are here to break down the information and help you choose the right school for you.

Two Year vs. Four Year Schools

Right off the bat the school that you choose will either fall into one of these categories, two year vs. four year schools. While in four year schools you earn your bachelors degree, in two year colleges you can earn an associates or a certificate that can allow you to start your career path. Two year schools are great for students who might want to save a up a little bit their first two years of college, or for those that might want a little extra time to figure out what they want to do. A few schools that fall into the two year category include community colleges, and trade schools. Community colleges are a great option if you want to save money or if you are undecided on which major you want to pick, but know that you want to get higher education. Students may take general education classes at a community college before they transfer to a four year college or university. Trade Schools or Technical Schools are another example of two year colleges. These schools focus on certain careers and teach you the skills needed to succeed. At the end of your two years you can either earn an associates degree or certificate that allows you to start working in your field. However, in some cases jobs might require something higher than an associates degree or certificate but will let you work in the field as long as you continue your education. In these cases you might have restrictions on what you can’t and can do. A great example of this would be Nursing. In the Nursing field students may start off at a two year to get their CNA license and or their associates degree in science. Once they have their CNA license and/or their associates degree they might have more opportunities to get a job in the area they are interested in. Now a days, many schools offer PSEO or college credits for students in high school that are on track to graduation. By choosing to do PSEO or college credits students can save some time and money as your high school typically pays for the majority of the supplies. Students who have the opportunity to attend college classes while in high school often are ahead than those that start college after high school since they get the chance to learn the expectations of college classes and earn credits that count towards their program.

While in a two year school you focus on earning your Associates degree or certificate, in a four year college or university you work towards your Bachelors degree. Four year colleges or universities are typically larger than two year schools which means it is easier for students to be part of a larger community that share the same interests and passions as you. Four year schools will also offer career specific classes that your major might require, that you might not find in two year schools. Another main difference between two and four year schools is that that four year colleges and universities often offer programs to complete your graduate, and doctoral studies after your undergraduate. While four year schools are a little more pricy than two year schools, four year schools can also offer school specific scholarships for students who might need them and there might be more financial assistance available for students that need it. As you head off to bigger and better things it is always good to do research and make sure you are getting all the tools needed to be successful in your career.


Four Year Schools: Private vs. Public 

There are two different types of four year schools; Private and Public. The main difference between private and public schools is the funding and where the schools receive their funding from. Public schools receive funding from the state and typically offer lower tuition rates for students from the same state. Public schools are usually larger than private and offer a wide selection of degrees, programs, groups, and amenities for their students. Since public schools charge less for tuition and offer often offer more than private schools they do tend to be more competitive and certain public schools might be harder to get into than others. Private schools receive funding from the tuition and fees that they charge their students, as well as from private donations. Since private schools don’t receive funding from the state they tend to charge higher tuition and fees. Usually private schools tend to be smaller and don’t offer as wide of a selection of degrees, programs, groups and amenities to their students as public schools. However, because of the size of private schools they tend to have smaller classes and that allow for more one to one time with your professor. Your needs are unique and your choice of school should fulfill those needs.


Vocational-Technical and Career Specific Colleges 

Vocational and technical colleges are schools that focus on career specific skills, often these type of schools offer shorter programs than those in a two or four year university and college. These schools typically don’t require general education classes and instead require classes that focus on career specific skills. Vocational and technical colleges are a great option for students who know what exact job they would like do, or those that want to expand on theirs skills. Possible career paths for those that attend these types of school include culinary arts, dental hygiene, medical field, mechanics, IT and web development.


Special Focus Colleges and Universities

Although they are not very common there are certain colleges and universities that focus or specialize in one area or subject. These can include art schools, single sex schools, religiously affiliated schools, and schools with special missions. As you can assume, art colleges and universities focus primarily on the arts and fine arts, while general education might be offered in these schools the primary focus of this school is for their students to enhance their art skills, typically these schools offer degrees in areas like photography, design, fashion, etc. Single sex schools are like any other four year university, except their entire or the majority of their student population is made up of students of the same sex or who might identify as that same sex. Religiously affiliated schools are schools that focus on religion. Like art colleges and universities, religious universities and colleges offer general education but they incorporate religion either through daily life or through classes. Lastly there are schools with special missions, these are schools whose student population might be made up of students who share a similar background, this can be things like race and culture. Special mission schools offer programs, activities, and services that specifically benefit their student’s needs.