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Your Options

Who are you, what do you like to do, and where do you see yourself in the future? Selecting the right college or training program begins with identifying your interests. Speak with your school counselor or try taking a few career surveys to find out how your interests connect to potential careers.

FAQ

  • College is expensive, is it worth it?

    College is the first step to having the future that you want. Overall, college graduates earn more money over their lifetime and have a better quality of life.  Higher education not only helps you prepare for the workforce, but creates lifelong relationships, offers you a valuable professional and social network, and grows your likelihood of becoming a lifelong learner. 

  • Is college right for me?

    College is the first step to having the future that you want. Overall, college graduates earn more money over their lifetime and have a better quality of life.  Higher education not only helps you prepare for the workforce, but creates lifelong relationships, offers you a valuable professional and social network, and grows your likelihood of becoming a lifelong learner.

    If you are worried about affording college, you should know that there is help out there to pay for college. See our section on paying for college to find out more.

  • I don’t have good grades, does that mean I have to go to a community college?

    Not necessarily, you could qualify to go to senior colleges and universities. Not all colleges are looking for the same profile. There may be a four-year college that may be realistic for you. Make sure to look at the grades and SAT scores the school normally accepts and compare it to your scores.

    Also, colleges consider more than just grades when considering an applicant. If your grades don’t quite make it, make sure you attach a great essay and recommendations or consider scheduling an interview if that is an option.

    If a four-year degree is your ultimate goal, attending a community college is a very good starting point. At community colleges, most programs are open admission. This means that you can go to college even if your high school grades aren’t strong.   You can complete your general education requirements for any major and then transfer into a bachelor’s degree program.

  • If I don’t know what I want to major in, does it make sense to go to college?

    Yes. You have plenty of time to choose a major, both before and after you enroll in college. In fact, declaring your major early limits one of the opportunities college offers: to experiment and explore different fields, and perhaps discover ones you haven't even heard of yet. At most colleges, you don't have to choose a major until the end of your sophomore year. Until then, you can take courses in a variety of fields. You’ll earn general education credits that count toward your degree, no matter what you major in. As you take different classes, you’ll probably find a subject area you love.

  • What is the difference between a community college and four-year school?

    Going to college means you have a range of options: short-term vocational/technical courses, certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree programs, graduate degrees and post-doctoral studies. Four-year colleges offer programs that lead to a bachelor's degree. These include universities and liberal arts colleges, among others. Two-year colleges, often called community colleges, offer programs that lead to a certificate or an associate degree.

    In New York City, the City University of New York offers eight community colleges and eleven senior or four-year colleges throughout the five boroughs.  In New York State, the State University of New York has 64 campuses throughout New York State that offer a range of programs including community colleges and four-year programs.  There are also a range of other options across the City and New York State. 

  • What is the difference between public and private colleges?

    Public colleges are funded by the government, and usually offer lower tuition rates for students who are residents of the state where the college is located.

    Private colleges rely mainly on tuition, fees and private sources of funding. Their tuition rates are the same for everyone and tend to be higher than public college tuition. Private donations can sometimes provide generous financial aid packages for students. 

  • What are the different kinds of degrees, and what do they get you?

    There are several types of college degrees. The main two undergraduate ones are associate and bachelor’s.  The Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) degrees are awarded after the completion of 60 credits of study. Generally, these degrees should be completed after two years of full-time study but can take longer. Community colleges and some four-year colleges offer these. After earning this degree, a student can transfer to a four year college to complete a bachelor’s degree.

    The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is awarded after the completion of a technological or vocational program of study, generally at two-year colleges. An AAS is considered a “terminal degree” which means that it is designed to help students go right into jobs in certain fields like hospitality and nursing. AAS degrees do not easily transfer into a bachelor’s degree programs.

    The Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees are awarded after the completions of 120 credits at a four-year college. After completing this degree, you may choose to go straight to work. Just by having a BA or BS you are opening up additional job and career possibilities. You also have higher earning potential. If you want to continue building your jobs and earning possibilities, you can continue on to graduate school.

  • What is a proprietary school?

    Proprietary schools are private, profit-seeking businesses that offer a variety of degree programs which typically prepare students for specific careers. They typically have higher costs than public colleges, but don’t have the generous sources of funding of private colleges, which can mean that their students graduate with more debt. Credits earned at these schools may not transfer to other colleges.  Before deciding which college is right for you, be sure you do your research to understand what is included in your education, the length of time it will take you to get your degree, and if it is the right fit for your needs.


Recommended Resources

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