Choosing the Right College Program

There are tons of college programs out there for those students who are seeking higher education and degrees in a variety of different fields.

The problem for most college-bound students is that they just can’t find the right type of education that fits their specific needs.

You see, we all learn through different methods, so identifying your specific learning method is a great way to understand what learning environment will work best for you.

Learning Environments

The most common learning environments include the following: community colleges, universities, and online or distance learning programs. Community colleges typically offer smaller classroom with more discussion-based style of learning.  Universities, on the other hand, tend to be more lecture-oriented.  Online and distance learning options are usually more self-directed and require a great deal of discipline in order to be successful.

Location & Time

Another factor to keep in mind is the environment where you want to complete your studies and the amount of time you want to devote to the pursuit of your degree.  Some students find that university life is just way too distracting while other students find that the isolation of online learning is a distraction in and of itself.

Extracurricular Activities

There are also a variety of different extracurricular activities at a university that you will not find through taking courses online or even at the community college level.

For some students, this is a very important part of the complete learning experience – the ability to delve into other activities outside of the classroom.  Other students find these additional opportunities to be way too distracting for their study needs.  Whichever the case may be, you will need to consider these things before you can make the best decision for you.


Something else that you will need to think about in regards to the college process is housing.  Most universities have enough housing for their incoming freshman, while a few campuses do not have enough housing on campus and have to rely on housing that is located in or close to the college area in order to fill in the gaps.

Some universities have special housing designated for students who have spouses and children.  Most community colleges are commuter campuses (meaning students tend to live at home and drive to school) with very few on campus housing options.  Online and distance learning programs offer no housing to its students.

Size of Campus

If you decide to live on a college or university student and you have special needs or physical disabilities, you must carefully consider the distance between your classes.

Universities tend to very large and spread out.  It’s possible that you’ll need to get from one class to the next in 10 minutes.  If you are a student with special needs or physical disabilities then this can become quite problematic, especially on days when the weather is bad.

Community colleges tend to have smaller campuses, which may make it easier to make it to class on-time.  On the other hand, online classes might be an even better option.  You can take classes without leaving the comfort of your own home as long as you have access to a computer and internet access.

You must carefully consider all of these things and so much more when trying to select the perfect college for you.

  • Are you prepared to take the personal responsibility required to succeed in online college courses?
  • Will you be disappointed in the limited course options available at the community college level?
  • Is the cost of a university education really worth it for you?

These are the types of questions that you’ll need to answer before determining which higher education option would work best for you.

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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