Choosing a College

Choosing a college can be a difficult task. With so many options, the college selection process can seem overwhelming. It is important to know what you are looking for in a postsecondary education.

Academic preparation will help you begin your college search. You should be aware of the different academic and extracurricular factors that influence admission decisions.

Types of Colleges

There are many different types of schools for you to choose from. By understanding what each college offers, you will be able to choose the school that best fits your needs.


  • Very large selection of majors and research facilities, with greater variety of classes
  • Undergraduate, graduate, doctorate, and professional programs may be offered
  • Usually offer four-year programs
  • Greater access to more faculty and expertise
  • Larger class size

Community or Junior Colleges

  • Smaller range of course selection that focuses on job training
  • Direct preparation for entering the work force
  • Usually two-year programs
  • Small class sizes

Agricultural, Technical, or Other Specialized Colleges

  • Very specialized programs emphasizing preparation for specific careers
  • Offer associate degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships, and certificate programs
  • Small class sizes

Liberal Arts Colleges

  • Broad range of courses, usually emphasizing humanities, social science, and science
  • Mainly offer undergraduate programs
  • Small class sizes
  • Personal attention

Vocational Training

  • Similar to community colleges, offering a wide variety of job-training options
  • Shorter programs, ranging from five months to three years
  • Concentrated curriculum
  • Small class sizes

Private vs. Public

Cost: Private schools are more expensive due to their reliance on private funding sources, but out-of-state residents pay the same amount as in-state residents. These schools also offer more privately funded scholarships and loans to make attendance more affordable.

Size: Private schools are smaller, offering a more personalized learning experience.

Cost: Public schools are usually less expensive due to government funding, but out-of-state residents must pay more to attend.

Size: Public schools are usually much larger.