Alternative College Programs
As you consider your future academic career, some of you are not feeling as enthusiastic about the options your school counselor has shown you, probably through Naviance or some other guidance program. Many students just do not want to go the tradition Liberal Art or Science routes. There are numerous opportunities out there for you!
There are ways to go to college and study what is more aligned with work. There are actual work colleges, where you work while going to school and end up with money saved and no debt. There are not many, but these tend to focus on specific areas such as forestry or culinary arts. But in the recent decade more and more schools are opening up and some community colleges are now offering four year degrees in programs that are not tied to tradition college programs.
Most of these schools offer culinary or healthcare degrees, as well as licensure in the state, so that the student is immediately able to work upon graduation. Most have internships along the way that tend to become full-time jobs. In addition, there are IT and other Tech degrees now offered with certification that do not cost as much and also offer employment during and after school. Web-Design as well as Game-Design have now become popular areas of study, and yes, there are schools that will either give you an Associates, a Certification, or a Bachelor’s degree in such areas.
Some schools that offer such comprehensive study or land grant schools are Johnson and Wales and Virginia Tech. Imagine studying something that is truly tangible to you, and in which you can find yourself working while studying. Historically Land-Grant schools served a public use, and many offered practical life degrees. Two Ivy League schools, Cornell and University of Pennsylvania, are land grant schools. Both offer an arm that serves the practical public, at Cornell the Agriculture School offers much, and that part of the school is part of the SUNY, or State University of New York program. Slippery Rock Campus of UPENN is a land grant agricultural arm to the school, as well. Many of the schools, over the years, have expanded and also include Liberal Arts and Engineering in traditional higher education manner, but they also have a lot of public service degrees in Criminal Justice, Healthcare & Hygiene, Nutrition, Agriculture, and Culinary arts, as well. Another bonus is that typically land grants schools are more affordable, and offer very good financial aid, some even completely free! Each state usually offers even more assistance to land grant schools to its residents.
Work Colleges are dedicated to integrating service with education. These schools are also usually more affordable, and many end up with zero college debt as working is part of the degree program. These schools are selective though, as the students do support the actual running of the school while attending and the students are paid for their work. They learn a variety of skills and can study a variety of liberal arts majors as well. Virginia Commonwealth University is just such a school that combines work and study in such engaging ways that students come out trained, educated, and passionate about work. Programs in Pharmacy, Graphic Arts, Homeland Security, and other public service degrees are offered.
And lastly, there are now some schools where you can do one third to one half of your degree through FREE Online education, which is a tremendous savings for many.
Search for something outside the box if you are not seeing yourself sitting in a classroom for four more years, I had a student who took a semester in high school to do a work-study program in farming in Maine. She loved the experience so much that she completely changed her college plan. Her parents supported her wholeheartedly, but her traditional high school counselor was trying ever so hard to persuade her to entertain the idea of studying agriculture AFTER she earned a traditional degree. She went to Unity College in Maine to become a farmer. We need farmers, and we need educated young farmers. She loved every minute of her education, and the last time I heard back, she is farming away in Maine.
Don’t be afraid to explore other options. Feel free to contact us if you want to have a session to learn about something new and explore!