Is College Worth It?
Getting a higher education can be a good way to make more money in the long run and have a better quality of life. A smart question to ask now is “Which college is worth my money?”
What college is right for me?
Only you can decide what your ideal college situation looks like. For starters, consider things like cost of attendance, distance from home, and how long you plan to go to school.
How much are you planning to pay for school? How much a school costs can help determine what school is right for you and your budget.
Do you need to be close to home to take care of family members? Consider a school that provides options for online learning or flexible class schedules.
Does the school you want to attend offer the major and career path you’re interested in pursuing? Check out our handy Career Choices tool to help you find out what you could potentially earn in your area or other cities across the country with that major or career path.
There are many options for higher education, and some may fit your situation and goals better than others. Here’s some help for deciding what option is right for you.
What kinds of colleges are there?
When it comes to higher education, there is a wide variety of choices. Deciding between public vs private universities and two-year vs four-year colleges are just a couple of the options to weigh and arguments to consider.
For now, we’ll start with the big ones that you might already be familiar with: two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
Should I go to a four-year college or university?
Four-year colleges and universities come in many shapes and sizes. There are hundreds of options to choose from, and within those options are public and private schools.
These institutions offer the opportunity to attain a bachelor’s degree or higher in a variety of subjects—from the many types of engineering fields to the humanities and liberal arts.
If you’re able to commit four years and more money toward a bachelor’s degree, that’s great!
However, you’ll need figure out what major you’ll want to pursue early on. Choosing a major that you’ll end up switching out of because it doesn’t interest you or is too challenging could mean having to spend more money on school.
Choosing the right major can mean having to spend or borrow less, finishing school faster, and entering the workforce earlier.
Still, getting your bachelor’s degree is one of the best ways to increase your near-term and lifetime earnings.
Should I go to a two-year college?
Community colleges, vocational schools, and trade schools are all examples of two-year colleges. Each offers students different educational opportunities.
Traditionally, two-year colleges are a less-expensive option than four-year colleges and universities.
Many students earn an associate degree at a community college, then transfer to a four-year college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree.
At a community college, you can earn your associate degree in half the time (and at a fraction of the cost) that it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university.
Often, community colleges and other two-year schools offer classes at times throughout the evening and online to accommodate working students, students with children, and students who prefer or need to study and attend class virtually.
Vocational and trade schools
If you’re more interested in a occupation-focused education, a vocational school or trade school may be the right fit for you.
These schools can offer career-specific, hands-on education and focus on building your skill set for a particular job role.
Many times, trade or vocational schools offer certificate-based programs. They normally do not offer the opportunity to earn an associate degree.
Regardless of your situation or goals, two-year schools can offer an education that can increase your quality of life and earnings more quickly and without costing as much as a four-year college or university.