Options in Higher Education – Specialized Options

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Options in Higher Education – Specialized Options

The past two blogs have focused on the differences between colleges and universities, and public and independent (private) colleges.  This week’s blog will wrap up the variety of other options available when determining what type of school might be right for your teen.

National vs. Regional

National colleges are institutions whose student body is made up mostly of students from out of state or region of the college.  Regional schools tend to focus on serving the educational needs of the students in their area. National colleges and universities tend to have a larger geographical diversity and are more selective in their admission practices.  In addition, national universities and colleges guarantee housing for at least students’ first year, while regional colleges offer fewer housing options or none at all.  Many regional colleges have students commute to classes and go home on the weekends, leaving less of a lively weekend scene as compared to a national school.

Single Sex Colleges

Several types of schools restrict or limit their student population in some way.  There are only a handful of all-male colleges remaining, yet there is a large demand for women’s colleges.  Some women’s colleges have an adjacent co-educational or all-male college where they s hare resources and course offerings.  A few colleges have coordinate campuses, which can take the form of different colleges within with same university (Barnard and Columbia), different sections of the same college (Hobart and William Smith) or separate institutions that have a historic bond (Bryn Mawr and Haverford).

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

HBCUs have a select student body.  While almost of HBCUs are defined by their majority of African American students, their characteristics vary widely in other areas. Student populations may be very small or very large or they may have students from mostly urban backgrounds or rural ones.  HBCUs can be public or private, and not are supported by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).   A list is available online at www.edonline.com/eq/hbcu/alphabet.htm .  Some have extremely selective admission, while others have open admission.

Religiously Affiliated Institutions   

This options is often selected by those who wish to attend college with others of similar beliefs or life experiences.  These schools also vary in size, scope and focus, similar to HBCUs.  Some were founded with a religious denomination yet have become fully independent; others retain a religious connection only in certain aspects of school life; and in others, religion pervades all aspects of school life.  A few schools (seminaries) prefer students for life in the clergy.

Military Colleges

Another group of schools are those with a military focus.  The majority are United States Service Academies although there are a few that are not (e.g. The Citadel).  They include the Military Academy (West Point), Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and Coast Guard Academy.

Students attend these schools to receive training to become a military officer.  The selection criteria is extremely rigorous and the graduate agree to spend a minimum of five years as a military officer upon graduation.  The Merchant Marine Academy differs from the others by commissioning officers as ensigns in the U. S. Naval Reserve (an eight-year commitment).  Room and board is free at the service academies and the students are paid a salary.

With the exception of the Coast Guard, all military academies require a nomination from a U.S. senator or representative in Congress.  Students interested in an academy nomination should contact their respective congressional representatives during their junior year to begin the nomination process.  Admission to the service academies may involve meeting certain physical requirements.

Professional Colleges

Some colleges offer specialized curricula for students who have definite career plans in specific fields.  Students who are seeking to be professional artists, architects, actors or musicians may seek to attend one of these institutions which offer only specific degrees, such as a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, architecture or music.  Culinary institutes are another example of professional colleges.  Many professional schools offer special t raining in medical careers, such as nursing and pharmacy, or in mortuary science.

Combined Degree Programs

Combined degree programs can offer students a number of different enrollment options.  For instance, students who seek a specialized major (such as forestry, agriculture or engineering)but also want the advantages of smaller, less specialized colleges may wish to consider a 3-2 programs.  With this option, a student generally spends three years at a several arts or smaller college and the final two years at a larger or more specialized school.  Students frequently earn two degrees: a bachelor’s of arts and a bachelor of science.

Similarly, students interested in earning an advanced degree, such as a master of business administration or master of physical therapy, may enter a combined bachelor’s/master degree program.  These usually operate like 3-2 programs, except students typically don’t have to change institutions.  They simple enter the master’s program after three years of undergraduate school.  Extremely talented students may also consider accelerated medical, law or pharmacy programs.  Students accepted into these programs are guaranteed admission to professional graduate programs after competing three years of undergraduate school, assuming they maintain strong grades.  However, some combined degree programs may require students to complete all four years of undergraduate school.

“If you have any other questions about selecting a college, or the admissions process, feel free to contact me through my website at www.Prep4CollegeNow.com  or call me at 760.877.7200  I’d love to answer your questions!”

By | 2018-06-11T00:39:42-08:00 August 23rd, 2011|Higher Education- Specialized Options|Comments Off on Options in Higher Education – Specialized Options