You may have a lot of questions when you and your child are considering college. Is a four-year degree the best choice? What about a community college or trade college? Learn about the three major options for getting a degree after high school.
Trade and vocational colleges
- Typically two years or less
- Students may graduate with an associate’s degree
- Only offers career-specific courses and degrees, like automotive technology
- Students only have to study subjects that apply to their field of interest
Junior and community colleges
- Offer courses in liberal arts subjects as well as career-specific training, like hotel management or dental hygiene
- Provide courses to help improve academic skills
- Have open admission
- Are state-funded, so tuition tends to be lower
- Give two-year degrees, but credits can be transferred to four-year colleges
- Most students live off campus
- Includes liberal arts colleges and undergraduate universities
- Can be private or state-funded
- Schools vary in size, admissions criteria, programs, and cost
- Students can graduate with a bachelor’s degree
- Students may live on or off campus
Get tips on how to talk to your child realistically about college. Learn about college programs for kids who learn and think differently — along with scholarship opportunities.
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About the author
About the author
The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.
Jim Rein, MA has lectured on postsecondary options and summer programs for kids and young adults with learning and thinking differences.