Think About How You Want To Learn
How do you want to interact with your classmates, professors, and class materials? Today’s college courses often involve more than just listening to lectures, reading assigned chapters, and writing papers. While you may have the opportunity to study any topic online, you also have to be prepared to actively participate in the process.
There is an ongoing debate among educators about the validity of learning styles, i.e., unique ways of learning based on individual capabilities. But regardless of whether we have a particular learning styles, many agree that we do have learning preferences. The VARK Questionnaire can help you think through the preferences you may have for learning, keeping in mind that preferences are not always strengths and that most of us learn in a variety of ways . Compare your preferences to the strategies used in the online and on-campus courses you are considering.
Go Traveling To A Destination Where You Can Meet Lots Of People And/or Party All The Time
Traveling obviously isn’t exactly like university, but I find it captures the essence of the college social experience. When I say “travel” I don’t mean to stay at a bed and breakfast out in the country by yourself for three nights. I mean to spend a month or more in a destination where many other travelers go, and then stay in places where you can meet them. There are lots of ways to do this, but here are a few examples:
- Go to a tourist town in a country like Thailand or Australia and stay in cheap backpacker hostels
- Live in a ski resort town over the winter rent a room in an apartment with four other people, and get a job at a restaurant
- Go to a big city in Japan and get a job as an English teacher, and hang out with the other expats, as well as the locals
- Get a job on a cruiseship and hang out with the other staff
There’s no denying these all cost money and may not be possible given your circumstances . Here’s how this type of traveling mirrors college:
Some people like to do this kind of traveling for a year or more, but even staying somewhere for a month may give you enough concentrated experience to make you feel like you’ve gotten the whole college thing out of the way.
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Its easy to get so caught up in hearing about everyone elses college plans that students might fail to consider what works best for their goals. For many students, that will mean a four-year institution. However, this might not be the right choice for everyone.
There are a few main considerations to make while trying to decide if community college is the right move for you, including finances and professional goals. Read on to find out if you should consider attending a community college and then transfer to a four-year school.
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What If You Already Have Student Loans
Student loan debt can be daunting and seem like an impossible thing to overcome. If you have them, youre not alone.
Those are daunting statistics. Especially how much more the student loan debt is than the credit card debt in this country. We hear a lot about how high credit card debt is, but student loan debt amounts to a whole lot more.
However, just because its daunting doesnt mean that you shouldnt start to pay them off and the sooner the better. The interest that accrues on these loans can be just as bad if not worse than the loan itself. There are ways to pay off your student loan debt so that its not hanging over your head for years or even decades. Here are a few.
- Refinance your student loans for a lower interest rate. Credible is a solid refinancing company that can help you secure a good rate.
- Minimize your other expenses so that you have more money to put towards your student loans. Start with expenses like groceries and your cell phone .
- Pick up a side hustle to bring in extra money that you can in turn put towards your student loan payments.
- Check out this guide to making more money and see if there are other things that you can do to bring in more income.
How To Have The College Experience If You Missed Out On It
A social regret some people have is that they missed out on the “college experience”. For many it was because they were too shy and socially inexperienced to get up to much while they were at university. Others look back on how they were too focused on studying, or lived at home with their over-protective parents and were discouraged from having a life on campus. A few never went to college at all, and wonder if it was the right decision.
People can mean different things when they talk of the college experience, but they’re usually not referring to dull early-morning classes or bad meal plan food. They’re kicking themselves for missing out on things like:
- Being able to party a lot
- Being able to meet tons of people
- Living on their own for the first time
- Living with a bunch of other students
- Being able to a live a relatively responsibility-free life before getting out in the real world
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Tips For Getting Into The College Of Your Choice
College admission officers carefully assess your high school grades, courses, test scores, essays, activities, recommendations, and interviews, if required. You will increase your chances of getting into the colleges of your choice by following these twelve tips:
Should You Go To College After The Military Heres How To Decide
Those leaving the military have several choices. For many, the Post-9/11 GI Bill makes heading back to school a very attractive choice. But even if college sounds good, you might still be struggling to make the decision. How do you choose what to do? How do you know what school to attend?
Its important to take some time to consider your options, gather information, conduct a self-assessment, think through possible outcomes and assess risks and rewards. Making education choices requires some soul searching and honest conversations with people in your life who care about you.
Dont know where to start? Consider the following as you work through the decision-making process:
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How Do I Decide Whether To Go Full
Youre generally considered a full-time student if youre taking 12 units in a semester or quarter. Your finances and ability to juggle school with other responsibilities will probably be the biggest factors in choosing to enroll full-time or part-time, but here are other considerations:
Meet Some People Who Are Still Students Then Re
This one works best when you’re only a few years out of college. For example, you could get a part-time job at a place where a lot of the staff are students. If you hit it off with some of them they may invite you to their college parties or to drink with them at the cheap student bar. You could also get students as roommates, and get back into the college experience that way.
You may be worried that it’s lame or pathetic to try to glom onto students and relive your college days. I don’t think there’s a problem as long as you’re not too old, you don’t act like a creep, and you don’t have the mentality of “The only way to get a college experience is to hang out with undergrads”. As I wrote in an earlier point, there really isn’t that much difference between a 20-year-old who’s still in university and a 23-year-old who finished two years ago. It’s not as if graduating turns you into an alien species.
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Why Go To College
You have probably asked yourself this question at one time or another. Maybe you are right now.
After looking at the growing price tag of most college degrees and the time it takes to earn them, its not surprising that you would ask questions like:
- Why should I go to college? Is a college degree a good return on investment and will I be able to pay back my student debt?
- Will the time and effort I invest in a college degree be worth it?
- Is college that important? What will college teach me that I cant learn from my job or my everyday life?
To answer these questions, lets take a closer look at the possible benefits of a college degree.
In a recent poll by College Board/National JournalNext America,
Ninety percent of those who pursued higher education immediately after high school said they would do so againwhile a majority of those who moved from high school directly into the workforce said that if they could reconsider their choice today, they would instead seek more education.
Going to college can open doors to new opportunities, broader career options, and better chances for personal and professional growth that you may not otherwise find. As a college student, youll get to experience new areas of interest, expand your vision of possibilities, develop new friendships and networking connections, establish and accomplish difficult goals, push yourself, and define yourself in ways that you cannot imagine.
Settle Your Financial Obligations
Your official date of withdrawal will have a major impact on your financial situation. If you have a federal loan, the school is required to return a portion of the money if you do not complete 60 percent of the loan period, which is usually the academic year. So if you drop out early in the semester, the school will return some of the money and you will owe less on your loan. However, you may still owe tuition fees for the remainder of the academic year.
If you received any scholarships or grants, you may also have to repay some of that money. Many scholarships and grants are given on the condition that students complete a program or demonstrate academic progress, so make sure to find out precisely what happens in the event you drop out.
Reasons College May Not Be For You
You’ll Have More Options With A College Degree
You might be planning to enter a trade that doesn’t require a college degree and will provide you with a good salary and benefits. However, if you end up deciding that you don’t like that field after a few years and you don’t have a college degree, your employment options will be limited.
Also, if you take up a trade that requires physical labor and you suffer an injury, you might struggle to find work without a college degree.
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Pursue Other Training Opportunities
Successful people don’t stop learning when they leave college, whether they have a degree or not. The lecture-based learning environment at college may not have been to your liking, but there are many different routes you can take to reach your educational goals. Vocational training, formal apprenticeships, and industry-specific certifications are valuable ways to achieve qualifications. You could also take advantage of the training available from free online courses to expand your knowledge and augment your skills. After all, employers appreciate workers who are committed to lifelong learning and professional development.
Notify The School Authorities
Officially, you drop out of school by following a specific set of steps, which your adviser should be able to explain. In most cases, you withdraw from a college by formally stating your intention in writing and noting an official date of withdrawal, but the registrar may have other paperwork for you to fill out as well.
If you live on campus, talk to the housing office to find out when you need to move out and turn in your keys. You may also be required to pay for cleaning or any damage to your room, so be sure you understand the full picture.
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The Alternative: Trade School
Right now, skilled trade work is in high demand and it pays well. If you hate sitting in a classroom for hours on end, you might want to look into getting vocational training. There are tons of cool options.
- Study electrical work or plumbing.
- Learn to work on cars.
- Style hair.
- Train to be a paralegal or legal assistant.
- Pilot planes.
These are skills that can lead to well-paying, in-demand jobs. Plus, its much less expensive to go to a trade school. The overall average cost of vocational school in the United States is about $33,000.
Although that may seem expensive at face value, the average total cost of a bachelors degree at a public university is over $100,000 . Thats a huge difference!
If you need help paying for school, you might qualify for a career trade loan, making this an even better option. In many careers, you might even get paid to learn on-the-job, which is way better than going into debt for a degree.
Transferring With An Articulation Agreement
Some states have wide-ranging agreements that apply to multiple community colleges and four-year campuses, allowing students to start at one of the community colleges and transfer into any of the colleges. For instance, in Massachusetts MassTransfer program, students can start at any of 15 community college campuses and transfer into one of the 13 public four-year state colleges.
If theres an articulation agreement in place between your local community college and four-year school, this is generally a good option. Youll save a couple years of tuition and the requirements for matriculation to the four-year schools are usually reasonable. However, if you want to attend your states flagship public campus , the requirements can be more stringent. If thats your goal, find out the matriculation requirements early to make sure your grades stay up to par.
One of the biggest drawbacks to transferring with an articulation agreement is a loss of flexibility in your education. This can happen if the articulation agreement has specific course requirements that lock you into a particular course of study at the four-year partner school. Changing your mind or simply not knowing what you want to major in at first can make the cost-savings on tuition negligible if you have to take an extra year at the four-year school to make up for itor if you arent able to study your intended major at all.
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Do You Know What You Want To Do
Knowing what you want in life is hard, especially if youre in your teens or twenties and havent had many experiences yet. When I was looking at colleges, I thought I wanted to be a graphic designer or a teacherand, well, that didnt work out the way I expected at all.
One friend of mine went to college for marine biology and spent two years studying turtles before she decided she wasnt interested. She switched to a medical degree, and then to physiotherapy. Shes still not sure what she wants to do, and shes incredibly behind on completing her degree and saddled with student debt.
Theres nothing wrong with switching majors. Many people choose to do it simply because college offers a lot of exposure to things they didnt even know they liked in the first place. If you have the money to experiment and take a variety of classes until you figure out your major, then sure, do that.
But, if youre like the vast majority of people who need to take out loans, you shouldnt go to college to find yourself. Youve got the whole wide world out there for that, and it wont put you into a pile of debt.