Once you decide on a degree, check out various colleges to see which offer the best programs. There are basic questions you should ask about college courses so you know the program meets your needs.

Community Colleges

You have many decisions to make before beginning your higher education. For starters, deciding whether to apply to a community college or a university can be overwhelming. Learn about the distinct advantages of community colleges.

Community Colleges versus University Educational Options

One of the very first decisions you will need to make pertaining to your higher education is whether to attend a community college or a four-year university. Each has benefits but there are advantages that community colleges offer students that are not available at universities. With this knowledge, you can make a more informed decision.

Academic Accomplishments

Not all students have perfect high school academic scores. Generally, regardless of your age, your high school grades will be factored into your college application. Community colleges often have lower eligibility requirements in contrast to the stricter thresholds of universities. If you struggled in high school, you have a better chance of being accepted into a degree program at this type of college. And you can learn a trade or get a degree in a technical skill.

Learning Opportunities

Because these colleges are smaller than universities, you will experience smaller class sizes. Instructors are more likely to know students by name. And the instruction can be customized to meet individual student needs. Students who need extra assistance can take advantage of tutoring offered through these colleges. Universities often have writing labs but not necessarily tutoring in all subject areas. These smaller colleges are also great if you want to explore different degree options before committing to one. And many two-year colleges offer online degree programs with these same benefits.

Personal Goals

What you hope to accomplish with your degree should play a role in your decision. Community colleges and universities offer very different types of career preparation services to students. Students tend to get better services at smaller colleges and may even be able to attend job fairs hosted by the college. If you want to have a particular job in five years, you may have a better chance by getting your degree sooner, networking, and working on your interviewing skills.

Financial Situation

Your financial circumstances will play a major role in your higher education decision. Two-year colleges tend to cost less per credit hour than universities. This is due in part because their overhead is lower since they are not as large as four-year campuses. Both community colleges and universities offer scholarships to eligible students. But not all students receive scholarships or grants to attend college. If you have to take out a student loan to pay for college, a two-year degree from a community college will cost less to repay than a four-year degree from a university. Or you can always enroll part-time and pay your own tuition.

Time Commitment

If you need your degree sooner than later, a degree from a community college is ideal. You can earn an associate degree in two years rather than a bachelor's degree in four years at a university. You always have the option of furthering your education at a later date by transferring your two-year degree credits to a university.

Online College Degrees

Online College Degrees Explained »

To make an informed decision about college, you need to know the various benefits of online college degrees as well as potential limitations so you can identify the online college that is right for you.