Do you have questions about earning an online degree? Our FAQ articles offer useful information about distance learning and online education to help get you started.
Also known as postsecondary education, college provides students with the ability to earn certificates and various degrees in specialty areas which may lead to greater job opportunities in the future.
A major is an emphasized area of study such as communications, political science, business or criminal justice. Specific courses are required for a particular major. A student’s major dictates the courses the student studies and the degree earned.
Community colleges, sometimes called technical colleges, are publicly funded postsecondary schools offering certificates, two year or associate’s degrees. Although sometimes limited in areas of study, students may prefer the smaller classes and less rigorous atmosphere of the community college. Students may attend community college, earn an associate’s degree and then transfer to a four year university to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Junior college is another name for community college.
Online college classes operate differently depending on the college, the course and the instructor. Some courses are primarily focused on using textbooks, while others require watching videos, online lectures and/or responding to forums. Online students often meet assignment deadlines and take tests/quizzes like traditional students.
Transferring from one college to another requires getting accepted to the new college. Credits earned from the old college are sent to the new college in the form of transcripts, and may or may not be accepted by the new college. The new college may require placement testing depending on previous test scores and your grade point average.
First, apply to the college in which you want to transfer. Second, you’ll need to have your old college send official grade transcripts to your new college. Check on admissions requirements with the new college to insure that you’ve covered all of your bases.
The number of credits to graduate from college depends on the degree level and the requirements of the college. Generally, an associates or two year degree requires 64 course credit hours, a bachelor’s degree involves earning 122-128 credits, and graduate degrees typically call for 30 additional credits. Again, this can vary widely by school and program, so check with your college for more information about its specific requirements.
According to the Department of Education, there are over 6600 colleges and universities in the United States. According to U.S. Department of Education statistics, the number of colleges has generally increased by about 8-12% per year.
A college receives accreditation by meeting the requirements of at least one of the 19 national accreditation organizations. These organizations basically provide quality control for colleges so that potential students can feel confident that a college meets national educational standards.
College majors cover a wide variety of areas from Liberal Arts to Medicine to Engineering to Communications and beyond. College students major in art, music, education, various sciences, history, literature, pre-law, pre-med, culinary arts, business, finance, management, computer science and more!
In general, college courses grant one credit for each hour per week that a class meets (i.e., a “contact hour”). An average course may be worth three credits, although classes granting one to five credits are not unusual. Some classes, such as labs, require less contact time and are worth one hour while lengthier classes, such as certain education courses, may be worth up to 4-6 credits.
A technical college is similar to a community college. Technical colleges often focus on providing certification and associate’s degrees for students interested in careers as plumbers, electricians, automotive technicians, chefs, nurses, graphic designers, computer programmers and more.
Private colleges receive less than or no government funding compared to state universities and community colleges. They typically rely on tuition, donations and alumni support for financial provision. Private colleges are often smaller than universities with higher tuition rates. Private colleges may also be more specialized in their educational offerings than state universities.
College financial aid can be found in several different forms including scholarships, grants, loans and work study. Scholarships are given based on excellence in academics, athletics or other talents, and do not require repayment. Grants, typically provided by government agencies, are awarded based on financial need, and do not require repayment. Student loans do have to be paid back, but at a reduced interest rate compared to other loans and students typically don’t have to begin repayment until after graduation or quitting college. Work study gives students the opportunity to work on campus and earn money to pay college expenses. All students should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form as the first step to acquiring financial aid.
In order to attend college, a student must have a high school diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) certificate. Most colleges require placement testing, as with community colleges, or a specific score on the SAT or ACT, as with universities. Determining how you will finance your college education is vital for the well prepared college student.
A college resume should focus on your strengths and on your own goals. You should note any successes, whether academic, athletic or otherwise. Many colleges desire well rounded students, so include volunteer and work experience. Finally, a college resume should include relevant test scores and credits earned from other colleges.
For college, you minimally need to hold a high school diploma or pass the GED test, transcripts from previous schools attended and a completed application. Some colleges may also require a resume, references and/or an essay. Financial aid applications for attending college may require that you include copies of tax returns and proof of income.