What Are My College Options?

Once you’ve reached your junior year of high school, chances are you’ve already considered attending college. The next thing to consider is what type of college you’re planning on attending.

Maybe you have your heart set on a four-year college, maybe a community college or maybe you’re just too undecided. The following are some college options to consider.

Public colleges

Public colleges, often state colleges or universities or community colleges, receive funding from the state. They also tend to offer lower tuition as opposed to private colleges. If you live in the same state of your public college, you’ll have a lower tuition as opposed to out-of-state students.

I currently attend a public university. Money was definitely a factor that played into my college decision process. I knew I wanted to stay in my home state of California, so that added with the amount of financial aid I received, made my choice of attending Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo that much easier.

Private colleges

Private colleges often have higher tuition. Although this is true, they sometimes offer great financial aid packages. Private colleges receive funding from donors and tuition. Private colleges include Yale University, Stanford University and Pepperdine University.

I considered attending a private school as one of my college options, but price was an influential part of my decision making process and ultimately decided to go the public university route.

Two-year colleges

This type of college offers two-year programs, as students work toward their certificate or associate degree. Community colleges are two-year colleges. Often, students transfer from two-year colleges to four-year colleges where they then go on to earn a bachelor’s degree. Two-year colleges are also known for having a lower tuition as opposed to other types of colleges.

For students who don’t want to be swimming in a sea of debt after college, two-year colleges might just be one of the best college options. Even if a student plans on going on to earn their bachelor’s degree, they can go to a two-year college and transfer after they graduate from community college if money is an issue.

Attending a community college is a great way to not only save money, but also get general education classes out of the way.

Four-year colleges

Four-year colleges are a type of college were students can earn a bachelor’s degree. Students can earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. Four-year colleges include both public and private universities as well as liberal arts colleges offering bachelor’s degrees. These types of colleges often see students coming from out of town — or out of state — areas. Four-year colleges also tend to provide on-campus housing, sometimes for more than just first-year students.

While money was a big factor for me, I am definitely glad I chose to go straight to a four-year college. While attending a two-year college is a great way to save money, I liked being able to dive right into my major at a four-year university as well as learning to be independent as I moved four hours away from home.

While I was nervous to be living in a city where I knew no one but a few friends from high school, I believe I made the best decision for me. But everyone is different. It’s important to assess your own wants for your prospective college(s). So start thinking about your future and college options early!

When the time finally comes for you to start thinking about college, do your research! Not only about what types of colleges are available to you, but also really think about where you want to live and what you want to study. When I was choosing between colleges, I definitely made pro and con lists for each college I applied to to help me narrow down my search.

It’s never to early to start thinking about your future college career!

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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