THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT COLLEGES…AM I MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE?

Choosing the one that is right for me…

There are literally thousands of colleges and universities out there. But how do you know what type to look for? How do you know which school is right for you? Or a loved one? Would you fit in a campus setting, or would you be better off attending school closer to home? Or attending a school that is more hands-on than classroom-based. So many questions like this might plague you for merely choosing a school to visit and apply to. It’s nerve-racking and stressful.

That is why there is a system called the Carnegie Classification System that provides a sort of nice mechanism of categorizing the types of colleges and universities available to you throughout the country.

How does it work…

For you, reviewing this classification system could be beneficial. I’m not saying its the absolute truth and perfect way to choose a school, but it helps you to understand how schools are classified and it helps you to understand the main areas of colleges and universities, whether they are private, public, community and so on. What Carnegie did here was by placing these schools into categories it helped to identify what is the most important areas of colleges and universities from the types of degrees offered to the status that school, whether it be public, private, etc.

This is what you should consider when looking at the type of school that would fit you.

This is my list from what I gathered through Carnegie’s classification website:

-Master’s Colleges ad universities offering higher level education and make up about 21% of all students in higher education.

-Baccalaureate Colleges and Specialized Institutions- offering two-year and four-year degrees, making up 15 percent of student enrollment.

-Associate’s Colleges- make up 42 percent of all higher education institutions. This includes a lot of private two-year colleges and public schools like junior colleges and community colleges. Primarily easier to attend and get into.

-Specialized Institutions– These are schools like christian colleges, theological seminaries, schools of business and engineering, nursing schools, as well as other specific types that provide a more vocational setting of hands-on education.

-Tribal Colleges and Universities- Schools that are for the purpose of native american education and providing this education on a tribal territories and basis.

Now, here is another listing of categorized colleges and universities. Consider this when making an initial list of schools you would be interested in. This list has to do more with how it is funded, or funds itself. This can tell a lot about how education is offered at these schools, so be sure to address this when looking at schools.

-Public- schools that are funded by tuition and public funds, as well as much larger, more popular among other institutions.

-Private- schools funded privately through a company, corporation and tuition. Run individually, however many schools are ACCREDITED and thus governed by an organization to ensure the quality of education and degrees.

-Not-for-profit- schools funded through and by charitable contributions and private donations and grants.

-Proprietary- schools owned and run through a corporation, whether it be specifically for educational purposes or the company owns these schools as a subsidiary of the company. Many of these schools as well follow by accreditation organizations that officially recognize them as degree granting institutions, so nothing wrong with them at all.

-Size- the size is important. Many of us choose schools based primarily on size.

-Athletic league- Based on the schools athletic contributions and success. How it is categorized in athletic divisions.

Now while these categories are important when making your list of schools to look at, it’s not the only thing. Among the research and calls, meetings with admissions rep and financial aid, as well as a nice campus visit, that is when your choice should be narrowed.

One of the greatest things about American education is the diversity of the institutions that provide the education and the goal of each and every one. Over the years since its inception, higher educational institutions have continually strived to search for, create and promote their own identity, separate from everyone else. The Carnegie Classification system was created and used for the purpose of making sense from the diversity and identity of each institution. Obviously not all institutions are alike. Although when you think of types of institutions from Master’s colleges, Tribal colleges, Doctoral and Research Universities, etc. there are certain types that a lot of people look at first before the mission of any institution.

Start with these lists first though. Make an initial list of 10 colleges and use these lists as a staring criteria.

Your 1st step.

Your Success is My Success,

Keith Lipke

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Keith Lipke is a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at The Hope Chest. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college.

The image above comes from: http://thevoiceforschoolchoice.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/decision-making-school-choice.jpg

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