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Leaving high school

At a Glance: Types of Colleges and How They Differ

By The Understood Team

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If your child is considering college, you may have lots of questions. Is a four-year degree the best choice? Should she think about a community college or trade college? Here are details on three different options.

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At a Glance: Types of Colleges and How They Differ

Here are the three major options for getting a degree after high school. There are benefits to each
type of school, depending on your child’s interests and strengths.

Trade and Vocational Colleges
• Typically two years or less
• Students may graduate with an Associate of Arts degree
• Only offers career-specic courses and degrees, such as automotive technician
• Students only have to study subjects that apply to their field of interest

Junior and Community Colleges
Offer courses in liberal arts subjects as well as career-specic training, such as
hotel management or dental assistant
• Provide remedial courses to improve academic skills
• Have open admission
• Are state-funded, so tuition tends to be low (less than $3,150 a year)
• Grant two-year degrees, but credits can be transferred to four-year colleges
• Most students live off campus

Four-Year Colleges
• Includes liberal arts colleges and undergraduate universities
• Can be private or state-funded
• Schools vary in size, admissions criteria, programs and cost
• Students can graduate with a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts Degree
• Students may live on or off campus
Graphic of At a Glance: Types of Colleges and How They Differ
Graphic of At a Glance: Types of Colleges and How They Differ

About the Author

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The Understood Team

The Understood team is composed of passionate writers, editors and community moderators, many of whom have children with learning and attention issues.

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Reviewed by Jim Rein, M.A. Jan 14, 2014 Jan 14, 2014

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