Little-Known Facts About Higher Education
The rites and rituals leading to a four-year degree in an institution of higher education have long been mystifying. Today, they’re still that way. However, prospective students and their parents can leverage the power of the internet to find the answers to most questions. Many have long wondered about the role of high school grades in the admissions process.
Others ponder on the intricacies of cosigning for a child’s college loan. Depending on what schools are on your radar, it’s essential to explore the rising popularity of online degree programs, community colleges, trade schools, scholarship availability, and much else. Consider the following facts about the current state of higher education.
Excellent High School Grades Don’t Guarantee Admission
For various complex reasons, many parents and youngsters operate under the incorrect assumption that top grades in high school guarantee admission to any college. The truth is admissions agents look at the big picture when evaluating applications. Typically, they review factors like extracurricular involvement, community activities, work history, grades, in-person interviews, and more.
Parents who want to help their children pay for college-related expenses have several options. Besides paying the bills directly, they can let the youngsters apply for a loan and then agree to serve as cosigners. However, moms and dads should think long and hard about adding their signatures to the loan document. It’s tempting to say yes and virtually guarantee approval of the loan.
There are negatives to the idea, and those who wonder if they should cosign a student loan should explore the pros and cons. Young adults need more of a credit history to qualify for loans. That’s why they turn to trusted adults for help. But, as much as you might want to cosign for a college-bound child, get all the facts and learn the potential repercussions before committing.
Four-Year Schools Aren’t Always the Best Choice
Four-year colleges and universities can be excellent institutions of higher learning for eager youngsters who want diplomas. But they should also consider the community college option, which often gets short shrift. Ironically, some community colleges offer course quality that is on par with or better than that at the state and private schools.
Two-year programs exist in nearly every town and county in the US. Tuition and fees are substantially lower than for their four-year counterparts. Plus, most who attend community schools for the entire two years go on to finish at state-based four-year institutions. The cost savings alone is reason enough to explore the community option.
The Popularity of Online Degrees is Exploding
No one could have predicted that online education would attract as many adherents as it did. But the trend for mid-career adults and high school grads to choose online degrees continues to grow, year after year. One reason is the lower price of the model compared to traditional curricula. Another benefit is convenience.
Attending one or more classes online means not having to commute, find a parking space, or waste time traveling to and from a remote location. Most of the nation’s largest collegiate and university systems offer limited or full matriculation via computer connection for those who want to study online. Schools benefit by gaining a wider potential audience. Many state universities have increased their attendee base by offering traditional and online degree programs.
Four-Year Degrees Aren’t for Everyone
There’s a general assumption that every high school student would do well to attend college. The truth is that not everyone can benefit from a traditional four-year degree program. Vocational schools for medical techs, massage therapists, and dozens of other fields are thriving as thousands of young adults enter the job market without four-year degrees. Similarly, there’s an increased demand for two-year associate degrees from community colleges. Acquiring an essential skill and beginning work two years early have advantages, particularly for those who want to earn a living without going into debt or spending four full years in school.
Facts About Higher Education: Scholarship Money is Widely Available
There’s a mythological aura around the entire concept of scholarships. Based on outdated and inaccurate information, most adults believe that awards only go to academic geniuses and the lucky few. In reality, thousands of institutions, agencies, and corporations hand out billions of dollars in scholarships yearly.
Much of the money goes unclaimed. In any given academic institution, about one-fourth of all attendees have received at least some grant money based on their specific fields of study, essays they wrote for award applications, and as the result of in-person interviews by scholarship committees.
Career Changers are Changing the Face of Higher Education
Mid-career adults find it easier to return to school when they can take online courses and attend weekend classes. Those who want to change career paths or boost their career advancement possibilities go back to finish college, obtain graduate degrees, or brush up on work-related skills. One of the fastest-growing segments of college attendees consists of adults who are currently working.