Easy College Search Comparisons Online

January 25th, 2012 by Clifford

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'Did Not Use US College Search'

Most people begin their college search close to home in their junior year of high school by looking for colleges in their zip code. Usually, along with thinking about colleges in their locality, they consider a degree from a college with a famous name. There are many excellent colleges in the United States that offer a degree in a variety of subjects which are not famous but are worthy of your consideration. The growing number of college search websites will help you find school information about degrees in areas you are interested in.

An online college search is usually conducted by using your zip code. This makes the entire process easy because at college search sites there are hundreds of colleges organized by zip code and you can find school information on the colleges you know as well as find school information about colleges you may be discovering. A college search by zip code will help you choose the college and degree that best suits your interests and expertise, so you need not attend a college that makes you uncomfortable and does not offer all of the requirements for a degree.

Almost all colleges have websites which can be accessed through a college search where you can find school information including admission requirements, residential facilities and any scholarships they offer. By using a zip code college search you can find school information about the degree of your choice and courses they offer for different majors as well as all the fees they require. Most of them will have an application form online that you can download. US College Search is the best website with the most schools and locations to ensure you find the right degree information in a zip code close to you.

An online college search will save you a lot financially and will help you avoid a lot of mental grief. It is quick and easy to find school information and compare the different colleges’ facilities and fees. A college search will also help you find colleges that will help you apply for admission. Entering your own zip code will help with your college search in your locality. Each college website is full of information and there are also reviews available that can be found through a college search to see how other people consider the college.

For a college search, select the state or states in which you have an interest and enter a zip code. Then you choose the subject area in which you wish to make the college search to get a degree. You will get a list of colleges in the area of choice and find school information that will help you make a selection.

US College Search will help you find school information on accommodation, fees, how to get financial help and where to get a degree in the subject area of your choice.

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Comparing Types of Colleges: The Pros and Cons of Public Colleges

December 20th, 2011 by rebeccac

advantages-of-public-colleges-ts87815035In the last of our series on comparing colleges, we take a look at the type of institution that makes up the majority of higher education: the public university system. Public schools, or state-funded schools, are institutions that get a large chunk of their financing from state and federal governments, which means that no one can be denied admission because of race, religion, gender or any other kind of discriminatory criteria.

Prospective students of public universities are also encouraged to stay within their state boundaries as they incur much higher tuition by enrolling in a school that’s outside of their home state.

Advantages of Public Colleges
Obviously, the first thing that everyone is going to mention is the cost. In-state public university tuition is, on the whole, considerably cheaper than the majority of private colleges, which can make financial juggling much easier in the long-term and require a smaller student loans in order to balance responsibilities.

On top of that, the sheer size of a public college or university is going to provide a myriad of benefits. The oftentimes expansive campuses offer great access to a variety of facilities, both for educational and social pursuits, and the sheer number of students means that you encounter a lot of diversity and can get involved in a great many activities. This also means that there is big selection when it comes to majors, postgraduate degrees and course offerings. Additionally, public colleges generally have strong backgrounds in cutting-edge research and a large number of faculty members who are active in their fields and who serve as excellent resources.

Disadvantages of Public Colleges
In the same ways that the large campuses and student populations of public universities are a benefit, they also lead to a lot of disadvantages as well. With as many students as are around, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd and feel like you’re only known by your student ID number, especially when you’re sitting in one of the huge lecture halls of a lower-level course. Also, offering as much course variety as they often do is a strain even on expansive faculties, and many times the prerequisite classes are taught not by full professors but by graduate students. Sometimes the grad students do okay; sometimes they don’t.

If you’re someone who wants to develop a strong relationship with your professors and get one-on-one mentoring, that will be more of a struggle at public colleges, where the number of students bumps up the competition and many professors will not have enough office hours in the day to really work with you on subject matter.

As a wrap-up to our series as a whole, we leave you with this note: Only you can make the choice about which college is the best fit for you. We’ve provided the common pros and cons of each in an attempt to give you an overview and assist with your decision-making, but when it comes right down to it, you know your life, your skills and what you need better than anyone else.

Need a recap? Read up on the pros and cons of:

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Comparing Types of Colleges: The Pros and Cons of Private Colleges

December 13th, 2011 by rebeccac

private-schools-colleges-ts83742629Higher education is becoming the chief aim of manypeople, both those who are about to graduate and those who are returning to school after raising families, working at careers, or who otherwise want to embark on a new career path. In our attempt to help all students – especially non-traditional ones – assess which type of college is best for their situation, we’ve highlighted for-profit schools, technical schools and community colleges. Now it’s time to take a look at private colleges.

Advantages of Private Schools
The biggest advantage of private universities is that, on the whole, the class sizes are a lot smaller. Unlike sprawling public universities, private schools and colleges often have much smaller student populations, so you’re more likely to have class sizes of 20 people or less, and this gives you the opportunity to develop mentoring relationships with your instructors. Smaller student bodies also mean fewer crowds and a more intimate, on-campus environment.

On the whole, private schools also tend to have strong alumni connections, which gives students an exclusive advantage when it comes to networking with successful graduates. It also benefits the schools as these alumni often contribute regularly, which funds scholarships and grants for incoming students.

Disadvantages of Private Schools
While there are a lot of benefits to the smaller student populations and class sizes at private colleges, it does lend to some disadvantages as well. Oftentimes, because of their smaller size and because they do not have the advantage of state funding, these schools are limited in their graduate and undergraduate offerings. Their number of faculty is more limited, too, so they don’t have the resources to provide as many course offerings.

Private colleges also generally don’t provide as much exposure to diversity as public universities do. Many times they were founded by a particular religious denomination or some other exclusive group that has specific goals and ideals that they favor when it comes time for admissions decisions. This means that you are more likely to be interacting with similar types of people from similar backgrounds.

Obviously, this article bases a lot on generalities, and each school or college has its own criteria, its own unique environment. There is a lot to consider in choosing a university or college to attend, and what’s right for you might not be right for the person next to you. It is a good idea to research the school thoroughly before making your final decision.

Ready to begin your college search? Get started with US College Search today, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Comparing Types of Colleges: The Pros and Cons of Community Colleges

November 29th, 2011 by rebeccac

community-college-students-ts200314321-001Choosing the right college can be a difficult task. In addition to cost, academics and location, students must also decide what type of educational institution they would like to attend: a community college, a four-year college or a university. While many students may be geared toward perusing a degree from a university, they should also stop to consider the benefits of a community college before they commit to an institution.

About Community Colleges
If you are new to the world of higher education, you may not be aware of the major differences between community colleges and four-year colleges and universities. Community colleges, or junior colleges, are two-year schools where students generally earn an associate degree or certificate in their field of study. A college or university, however, is a four-year institution where students earn bachelor, masters and doctoral degrees.

Community colleges have benefited from the recent infusion of government funding made possible by the American Graduation Initiative. This funding program aims to invest $12 billion into community colleges across the United States in order to help more students gain access to higher education.

Advantages of Community Colleges
One of the advantages of a community college is that they can help students develop the basic skills and study habits needed to excel in a university setting. Students may also prefer community colleges because of their smaller class size and greater access to instructors, which encourages better student outcomes. Since many universities have strict admissions standards, community colleges serve as a capstone option for students who have difficulty in school.

Community colleges are the perfect option for students who want to complete their core curriculum and then transfer to a four-year college or university. In many cases, universities have developed core curriculum requirements that work with local community colleges to ensure community college students’ credits transfer and are applicable to their four-year degree programs. Another big advantage of community college is cost. According to a recent ABC News report on the rising cost of higher education, in 2010, the average cost of tuition at a public two-year community college was $2,544, compared to the $7,020 students paid at four-year colleges and universities.

Disadvantages of Community Colleges
There are several disadvantages to community colleges, but many of them don’t rank on the priority lists of most non-traditional students. Many high school graduates forgo community colleges because they don’t want to miss out on the campus experience and activities like Greek life. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind for the non-trads out there before jumping onto the two-year school bandwagon. Compared to a four-year institution, community colleges offer a smaller variety of academic programs and majors. If a student attends a community college with plans to transfer to a four-year college or university, they must be diligent about making sure their courses are transferable between the two intuitions, otherwise they may end up retaking courses they have already completed at the community college level.

Ready to begin your college search? Get started with US College Search today, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Comparing Types of Colleges: The Pros and Cons of For-Profit Schools

November 22nd, 2011 by rebeccac

adult-student-in-class-tsstk162300rke
There are a lot of different types of colleges and schools out there – probably even more than you realize. Public, private, community, for-profit, technical … which is the best one for you? We present a blog series that focuses on each one in turn and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each.

For-Profit Schools

As a non-traditional college student, you have enough things to consider, such as where and how to complete classes, how to apply for financial aid, trying to hold down a job at the same time, and figuring out a major. With all of this swirling around in your brain already, you may not have given thought to whether you want to attend a college that is non-profit or for-profit. You may not even know the difference between them.

Non-Profit Colleges
When you think of a state university, with four-year college degree programs, onsite dormitories, a wide range of student activities and a campus on several acres of land, you are most likely envisioning a non-profit college. Students coming to college straight out of high school generally gravitate toward non-profit colleges, and for many, it is their first experience living apart from their parents so the community experience is almost as important as the learning.

Non-profit colleges receive their funding from the state legislator where the campus is located, as well as from private donors. Tuition from students goes back into the school to pay its operating costs. Generally, non-profit colleges are harder to get into than for-profit colleges because the latter receives its profits directly from student tuition and is less likely to turn down students who want to attend. With non-profit colleges, the goal of their existence is the education itself. With for-profit colleges, the goal is two-fold: the profit created for the organization in addition to the education students receive.

For-Profit Colleges
Since for-profit colleges get their funding from private investors and companies seeking to raise revenue, their structure is more like that of a business. The other major difference between for-profit and non-profit colleges is that for-profit schools are goal-oriented, focusing more on preparing students for specific careers than providing them with a liberal arts education. For-profit colleges also tend to have more flexible course offerings, such as online learning, evening and weekend courses, and part-time programs. This is because for-profit colleges generally attract older students who are already working and are looking for additional training to advance their careers. Non-traditional students need greater flexibility if they’re going to be able to swing going to college, working and raising a family at the same time.

If you’re looking for education that prepares you for a specific career in a shorter amount of time, for-profit colleges may be the way to go. While they do tend to attract non-traditional students, there are always exceptions. New high school graduates who have specific career training in mind may also be attracted to for-profit colleges and skip learning the liberal arts.

How to Decide
It’s your life, and you have to evaluate which type of school works the best for you without worrying about if your money is going back into the college or into a company’s bank account. As long as you are benefiting from the education, whether the college you attend is non-profit or for-profit is really a moot point.

Ready to begin your college search? Get started with US College Search today, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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What is fire science?

October 7th, 2011 by rebeccac

Fire Science ss_91063604If you’re looking to further your education, you’re probably familiar with the typical degree offerings: nursing, accounting, graphic design, etc. Chances are, you decided to read this blog because you have no clue what fire science is. Well, if you’ve ever thought about a career as a firefighter, you can definitely benefit from learning more about this field of study.

Firefighting is a lot more complex than pulling a truck up to a fire hydrant, connecting a hose, and spraying water toward flames. While that may have been an accurate description in the past, today’s firefighter needs to be an expert in several areas.

So what else do firefighters do?

Firefighters are experts in life safety skills, such as CPR and dealing with trauma. They perform educational functions in their communities; they have in-depth knowledge of hazardous materials, arson, and fire law. In addition, firefighters have to be physically fit and excellent communicators with people in crisis. Imagine how stressful it could be for someone who is untrained to deal with the kinds of unexpected, stressful situations that are part of the everyday life of firefighters?

Schools that offer Fire Science degree programs typically offer students several learning objectives that are critical. Students usually focus on managing, suppressing, and extinguishing fires. And once a fire is extinguished, firefighters must also work to figure out the cause of the fire. Students who want to move into management positions also find fire science programs beneficial to the development of their knowledge and skills.

Plus, the great thing about fire is that it’s not some passing fad. Which means that going into a career that involves fire science is probably a safe bet if you’re looking for a secure field. So now that you know a little more about what fire science involves, find out about fire science programs in your area, or online. Once you find a few schools that you’re interested in, reach out and talk to their faculty to find out what their program entails and what kind of successes their graduates have experienced.

One thing that should not be overlooked is that firefighters play an important role in their communities. Regardless of which path you take with your degree in fire science, you will have an opportunity to make the world a safer place, and have a positive impact on countless lives.

So now that you know what the heck fire science is, what do you think? Join the conversation by leaving your comments below!

Ready to start looking for fire science colleges? Begin your college search at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also start searching by zip code.

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The Facts about Graphic Design School Portfolios

September 15th, 2011 by rebeccac

graphic-design-portfolio-TS_83286948If you’ve started thinking about going to graphic design school, odds are that you have several college possibilities and a lot of pros and cons to weigh. How do you choose which school and which program are going to be right for you?

Here’s one must-have element to move up the priority list: portfolios.

A good graphic design program is going to guide you in the construction of a final portfolio project that you can take out into the world to help you in your job search after graduation, so if you’re looking at a college that doesn’t include portfolio development in some capacity, you might want to look a little deeper before you sign any enrollment papers.

Okay – so what’s the big deal with portfolios?

One word: experience.

Maybe it’s not the same as having real-world, on-the-job experience, but since you’ll be fresh out of graphic design school, you’re just trying to get your foot in the door. A portfolio is a great, visual way to show potential employers what you’ve got to offer – your skills and creativity, what programs and techniques you learned during the course of your education, and how it all can benefit them. It shows you know your way around graphics and you can produce what they need.

It’s not a replacement for a resume.

Write that down, underline it, circle it with little stars because it’s really, really not. You still need to build one of those, too, and don’t short-change it or it won’t matter if your portfolio is a multimedia experience in 3-D. They’ll just toss it. The long and short of it is – when it comes to graphic design careers, it’s not enough to have JUST a list of education and skills or JUST a photo book of your creations. The best way to sell yourself is to present a clean, professional resume and then show them evidence of everything you can do.

The next question then becomes: what’s the best way of putting your portfolio pieces together? There are a few different options:

  • Print book: Something professional-looking and neatly bound, with a nice cover and easy-to-turn pages. Nothing too gaudy, and black background pages are usually your best option to set off the gorgeous visuals you’ve created.
  • Website: Probably best to get a professional domain (your first and last name, if you can swing it) rather than using a free site like Yahoo or Geocities. It’s a small investment for your professional future and lets you keep things ad-free. Display your portfolio pieces as a page of thumbnails so that a potential employer can dictate which images he or she wants to see and what order to see them.
  • DVD: Provides the tangibility of a print book with the digital formatting of a website. Especially handy for potential employers who want to see it digitally but might have a slower Internet connection or older browsers.

If at all possible, put your portfolio in all three of these formats to give yourself flexibility. More traditional print-based companies are going to want to see the book, but interactive and multimedia companies will likely be more dazzled by a DVD or website presentation.

7 important tips for your graphic design portfolio

Almost as soon as you enroll in graphic design school, you’ll probably want to start thinking about the future of your portfolio. It’s not a stagnant project – it’s something that develops and changes over time, so here are a few tips to keep in mind when trying to put one together.

  1. Edit. Just because you worked hard on every piece doesn’t mean that every piece deserves top billing. If something really isn’t the best show of your skills, then chuck it – you should really only have about 10-12 pieces total. Throw a bunch of mediocre stuff in the mix, and odds are a potential employer is more likely to remember the not-so-good fluff than your stand-out creations.
  2. Don’t go overboard. It’s great to have a big, vibrant personality, but when you’re presenting your portfolio, it’s important to keep it professional. Resist the urge to over-embellish it or to buy that fantastic multi-colored presentation book. Black may be boring, but it’s a great background for design. Keep it simple and sleek.
  3. Embrace variety. You may love working with typography best, but odds are that the jobs you will be applying for will require much more than that. Make sure your portfolio shows not only your best, but also your most diverse selection of work.
  4. Label. Probably the simplest part of the portfolio process – label your works. Nothing too big or distracting, just something noting the client or project name, your role in it, what software you used, and a very brief explanation of why this piece is important in your body of work.
  5. Get another opinion. Almost no one is able to look at their own work absolutely objectively, and that makes editing very difficult. A second (and third and fourth) opinion can give you a fresh perspective on your portfolio and help nail down what works and what doesn’t. Find people, like your instructors, who will be honest – not friends and loved ones who already love everything you do.
  6. Keep it current. Design evolves like everything else, and oftentimes, much faster. Make sure your pieces reflect your developing skills and experience. Most likely that piece from one of your first classes two or three years ago isn’t going to age well, so adjust your portfolio to keep things up-to-date.
  7. Stay flexible. Every potential employer is going to be looking for graphic designers who meet their unique needs for the position, so allow yourself the chance to adjust your portfolio accordingly. Do some digging on the company, find out everything you can, and then present the pieces that best match their aesthetic and where they’re headed.

If you’re looking into a future in graphic design, a portfolio is going to be absolutely essential, so make sure in your college search that you’re looking at schools that make it a priority. A great portfolio will not only give you a leg up in the job search, it will also be a visual testament to everything you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come.

Ready to start looking for graphic design colleges? Begin your college search at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also start searching by zip code.

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Your checklist for choosing an online college

September 9th, 2011 by Brendon

Finding an Online School ss_13703017Considering online college? That’s a good thing. Online learning is becoming more common as more and more schools are getting onboard, and the stigma of an online degree is fading fast. But, you want to be sure that you’re getting more than a piece of paper. While there’s no perfect method for choosing an online college, here are some important factors that you should take into consideration before making a decision:

Class size – You might not think it matters how many people are in your class because you’re sitting in your living room. But, class size definitely makes a difference. Some universities already cram 200 students into large lecture halls, so why wouldn’t they do the same with their online courses? Make sure that you will have a teacher you can get in touch with and the level of attention you need in order to succeed.

Cost – This seems like a no-brainer, but many students don’t do their due diligence by comparing school costs. The price of online learning can be very affordable, but some schools charge much more than others and some have hidden fees, like activity fees to support on-campus events. Make sure you’re also comparing the price of any books you might have to get.

Accreditation – Investigate whether the schools you’re interested in are accredited by agencies approved by the Department of Education (DOE). That’s the simplest way to check the validity of your education as accredited online schools will have met certain standards in their education and training. Not all training requires the DOE’s stamp of approval – but some employers require their workers to have an education that is accredited by the DOE. Schools generally list accreditation information right on their website, so if you can’t find it, you might want to contact the school or check the websites of the agencies themselves.

Transfering credits – If you plan on going to another school after you complete your online degree, make sure that your credits will transfer. You don’t want to earn your Associate degree online and then realize that you can’t transfer your credits to the school where you want to earn your Bachelor’s. It never hurts to think ahead.

Flexible doesn’t always equal convenience – Just because you can attend class from your couch, doesn’t mean you can choose the time that you attend class. Some courses require that you chime in on instant message conversations at specific times. If you have to work from 9-5 but your professor expects you to participate at 2 o’clock, then online learning won’t work to your advantage in that scenario. Make sure you check the class schedule and find out your professor’s expectations.

Find out who hires their graduates – The bottom line is that you should never be afraid to ask lots of questions before you enroll. If an admissions rep gets annoyed with you, then they probably care more about your money than your future. One question you should definitely ask is: “What companies have hired your graduates recently?” If this question is hard for them to answer, then it’s safe to assume that they don’t spend a lot of time following up on their graduates’ success or fostering strong relationships with reputable employers.

So now that you have a solid approach to finding a good online school, nothing should stop you from getting a good online education. If you are still wary of learning online, then first seek out a reputable school that offers online programs in addition to their campus-based programs. Set up a meeting with an admissions representative and ask them lots of questions. You’ll probably find out what a lot of other students are quickly learning: that you can find a good online education that can help you pursue a great career!

Interested in finding an online college? Ready to begin your college search? Start at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter as well as searching by zip code.

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Top 5 fears non-traditional students have about going back to school

August 29th, 2011 by admin

Nontraditional Student Worries ts_ AA018431There are a lot of people considering going back to school right now for various reasons – maybe they’ve been laid-off recently because of economic cutbacks, or they’re stuck in a job with bad pay or bad hours or bad responsibilities, or they’re just finally ready to start doing something they love instead of just something they get paid for.

There are also a lot of people who keep putting off going back to school because of fears or self-doubt – they’re not necessarily happy with where they are, but don’t feel ready to take on a big life change. You might be one of these people. If you are, you’re not alone – a lot of non-traditional students share the same types of concerns about furthering their education after time out of the classroom. What are some of them? Let’s find out.

1.) Putting a burden on your family
Once you’re settled into a routine – however dissatisfying it may be – it can be really difficult to change things up, especially when you have other people to consider. You begin to wonder if you’re being selfish or if you’ll end up making things worse somehow – financially, professionally or personally. You don’t want to miss things happening at home – if you have younger children, you don’t want them to feel abandoned; you don’t want to get too far behind on housework and home responsibilities; you don’t want to make the rest of your family pick up all of your slack.

Mothers especially struggle with this and how their decisions will affect their children. And it’s true that, while you’re taking classes, you will have less free time and there will have to be some compromises made with your routine. The nice thing is that a lot of schools offer evening and weekend schedules, and more and more are offering online programs that mean you won’t have to commute or rearrange your family’s schedule. But the bottom line is, if you get your family on board with your decision to change your life, they’ll understand and be willing to accommodate your needs. After all, it’s only temporary and the benefits afterward should be worth it!

2. Not fitting in with other students
As you get older and the generation gaps widen, it’s easy to think that going back to an environment you haven’t been in for a long time will leave you feeling overwhelmed and out of place. Things change so rapidly nowadays that even just a couple years removed from school can seem like a lifetime. You may worry that you won’t understand basic assignments because of technological deficiencies or that the younger students will think you’re strange and too old to be in school. Your instructors and the faculty members may be younger than you, and you may just feel like you’re out of touch with the entire school system.

However, adults everywhere are choosing to go back to school later in life to begin a new career or continue their education, so there’s a chance you won’t be the only adult learner in your program! Also, if you choose a non-traditional education at a career college or technical school, many of your classmates, regardless of age, are probably dealing with a lot of the same obstacles you are. Because of this, these schools also typically have very supportive faculty and staff who are willing and able to help you with any concerns you may have and guide you through your studies.

3. Balancing your job, family and homework
Adults are busy and getting busier – between a job that may or may not have a set schedule, a family that needs things from you and that you want to spend time with, and basic life upkeep like car repairs and bill payments and grocery shopping and … well, you know how it goes, it can feel like there’s no room for anything else, especially something as major as school. Not only will you have to spend time in a classroom each week, but you’ll also have to complete assignments at home.

Sounds exhausting, right? It doesn’t have to be as inconvenient as you might think – as mentioned above, get your family to help you out if they can so you aren’t spreading yourself so thin. You can also opt to enroll in an accelerated program that will allow you to complete your studies more quickly, an online program that will allow you to fit class and homework in when it’s most convenient, or a program that allows you to take just one course at a time so you’re not trying to learn too much at once. When it comes down to it, career colleges understand the difficulties their students sometimes have and will work with you to make sure you’re successful.

4. Worrying the material will be too difficult
Starting something new is often a lot more scary in your head than it is in practice – it’s people’s nature to anticipate the worst and blow unfamiliar situations out of proportion, only afterwards realizing that whatever it was really wasn’t that bad. The same is true with any educational program you choose – it’s going to be something new, and even though you’ll have a course list and descriptions of what you’ll learn and how, until you’re actually there, doing it, there will probably be fear that you’re getting in over your head.

The important thing is to realize the difference between being challenged and being overwhelmed. Easy, throwaway coursework probably means you’re not getting a quality education and learning what you really need to know to be prepared. Plus, many career colleges provide a laboratory environment where you can practice classroom theory in a simulated – or real, in the case of internships and externships – work setting. Many students find that this is what really prepares them for what they’ll do after graduation and what gives them confidence in themselves.

5. Wondering if getting more education late in life is worth it
Let’s begin by saying, “It’s never too late to go back to school!” And it’s not – if you’re in a place where you’re unhappy or unemployed and need a change or a different career path with opportunities, it doesn’t matter your age. Of course, there’s the argument of the costs vs. the payoff to run through to determine if any loan amounts you have to pay off are going to be manageable.

But in the end, it’s the quality of your life that’s at stake – if beginning a new career doing something you’re passionate about will have a positive impact on your professional point of view, then it will also overflow into your personal point of view and allow you to enjoy life in general all that much more.

Basically what this all comes down to is deciding whether school is the right thing for you right now, and knowing that there are others out there going through what you are. A good way to get support before you decide what school to choose is to post on back-to-school forums or message boards so you can communicate with others who are in your situation or who have been there and can offer advice. And once you enroll, use the resources your school offers to their highest advantage – whether it’s the financial aid or admissions office, your instructor or fellow students, the support system you create can help you get through anything.

Ready to begin your college search? Start at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter as well as searching by zip code.

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Top 10 most popular career education programs

August 11th, 2011 by rebeccac

If there’s one thing the government always seems to have in spades, it’s statistics. In fact, they’ve got a whole department dedicated to coming up with facts, figures and highly complicated tables just for education: the National Center for Education Statistics. Nifty, right?

Handy, too, if you’re like me and interested in the topics surrounding adult education. Say – for example – what the growing number of non-traditional students are choosing to study and how it stacks up against the most popular majors of the traditional collegiate populace.

NCES to the rescue. They’ve got data for every day of the week, broken down in dozens of different ways – including which kinds of students are studying what and what kind of outcomes they are achieving.* So how did the top 10 pan out?

Distribution of Career Education Programs

Business and marketing

Includes: Management, administration, accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, real estate, sales and merchandising, hospitality

Total number of students enrolled: 3,349,000
Percentage of the total: 28%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

Business nearly always seems to land at the top of the pile – mainly because it’s such a diverse field and ridiculously applicable. A degree in business administration may sound fairly basic and general, but you can leverage it on your resume for thousands of different jobs.

No. 1 with traditional students: Business

This is one place where all students seem to agree: Business degrees are a good way to make yourself valuable and employable.

Health sciences

Includes: Healthcare, dental, health administration, medical records, physical therapy, veterinary care, medical technology, pharmacy, medical research

Total number of students enrolled: 2,970,000
Percentage of the total: 25%
Most common outcome: Associate degree

Healthcare-based fields are hard on business’ heels and probably will be for the foreseeable future. There’s just so much demand out there for health services and so many people needing treatment and care that it’s no surprise that students see it as a job security haven. People will always get sick, after all, so it’s not like that’s going away.

No. 2 with traditional students: Social sciences and history

In general, a lot of traditional college students are still trying to figure out the world and themselves, so there’s a tendency to go for broader liberal arts/humanities types of degrees that allow them to just explore subjects.

Education

Includes: Elementary, middle and secondary education; educational administration; higher education; curriculum and instruction; special education; continuing education

Total number of students enrolled: 1,197,000
Percentage of the total: 10%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

With business and healthcare eating up over 50% of students, it’s no surprise that there’s a big drop to number three, nor is it a surprise that it’s education. U.S. education at all levels has been struggling, but the need will always be there for teachers who feel passionately about it.

No. 3 with traditional students: Health professions

Not too long ago, this spot would’ve gone to education in the traditional market, but like I said, healthcare is HUGE and people are wanting in on the game.

Engineering and architecture

Includes: Architecture, city and community planning, engineering, engineering technologies, CADD/design technology

Total number of students enrolled: 1,123,000
Percentage of the total: 9%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

It was surprising to see this one rank above the computer technology field, but it makes sense from a certain point of view. After all, they are interesting fields with both good salaries and opportunities, and there are a lot of technical careers included as part of these industries that offer the benefits without the need for years and years of school.

No. 4 with traditional students: Education

It’s still holding strong in the top five, although it may be interesting to see if the appeal of education diminishes if the current budget slashes and salary cuts continue.

Computer and information sciences

Includes: Computer programming, data processing, systems analysis, networking administration, software applications

Total number of students enrolled: 694,000
Percentage of the total: 6%
Most common outcome: Associate degree (over Bachelor’s by a mere 2%)

Computers are so vital now that it’s difficult to remember our society before them – and before jobs surrounding them were even an option to study for in school. As they get more complicated, more and more specialized jobs spring up to keep them running and developing, dealing with hardware and software alike.

No. 5 with traditional students: Psychology

A huge difference here between a very tech-y, hands-on career and a “soft science” undergraduate degree to practically requires postgraduate work in order to be applicable to a job.

Protective services

Includes: Criminal justice, corrections, law enforcement, forensic science, fire protection, security

Total number of students enrolled: 670,000
Percentage of the total: 6%
Most common outcome: Associate degree

Essentially encompassing all programs related to criminology, this includes a lot of police officers and firefighters – some of them going back to get their degree in order to advance. It holds a lot of appeal for those with a strong sense of justice and a real drive to make a difference in their communities.

No. 6 with traditional students: Visual and performing arts

Like with social sciences and history, the relatively high ranking of the arts field exemplifies the priority of traditional students to explore and discover themselves through their major.

Consumer services

Includes: Culinary arts, nutrition, fitness training, cosmetology, esthetics, counseling, child care

Total number of students enrolled: 658,000
Percentage of the total: 5%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree (but it’s close to an even 33/33/33 split)

A sort of “miscellaneous” section according to the NCES, this covers a lot of the daily jobs and industries that deal with personal wellness – keeping yourself healthy and feeling good about yourself inside and out. The most random career in this section? Mortuary science. From the cradle to the grave, indeed.

No. 7 with traditional students: Engineering and engineering technologies

This one gets a muddled ranking on the traditional side – I think because the appeal of the industry is negated by the sometimes 5+ years of schooling that are often required for engineering at the university level.

Communications and design

Includes: Advertising, communications, journalism, public relations, visual arts, dance, graphic/fashion/web/game design, photography, film

Total number of students enrolled: 454,000
Percentage of the total: 4%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

There’s a lot of variety in this group – including technology-based art programs like web design and game design that offer a lot of opportunities and good salary potential. It tends to be an area, though, where people are less apt to enroll if they don’t feel they already have a strong talent at it.

No. 8 with traditional students: Communications and journalism

A kind of half-match-up here toward the bottom, since visual arts are separate and actually rank higher. Communications majors are often broad enough to be geared toward either journalism or marketing.

Manufacturing, construction, repair and transportation

Includes: Carpentry, electrical, construction, mechanic, aviation technology, trucking, transportation, repair

Total number of students enrolled: 423,000
Percentage of the total: 4%
Most common outcome: Associate degree (followed closely by certificates)

Very few of these programs really require a Bachelor’s-level outcome, and nearly all of them lead to practical, hands-on, trade-based careers that are vital to society’s comings and goings. Check out trucking for major job opportunities – a lot of veterans are retiring and leaving vacancies that will need to be filled.

No. 9 with traditional students: Biology and biomedical sciences

In direct contrast, the biology field tends to be another major that lends itself to necessary postgrad work – medical school, forensics, etc. Not always – but very often.

Public, legal and social services

Includes: Law, pre-law, paralegal/legal assisting, library sciences, public administration, theology

Total number of students enrolled: 369,000
Percentage of the total: 3%
Most common outcome: Bachelor’s degree

It’s got a few random ones in there – library sciences? theology? – but the majority of this deals with the legal system, and it’s not all just students going pre-law. Legal assisting, court reporting and other legal support services are a big deal in this field.

No. 10 with traditional students: Computer and information sciences

Compared to its much higher ranking in the career education listing, computer sciences comes in last here – conceivably because you don’t have to have a traditional Bachelor’s degree in order to get a foot in the door and succeed.

 

 

*Figures for career education from here: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ctes/tables/P43.asp. Figures for the traditional studies from here: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/figures/fig_15.asp

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