Choosing the Right College in Utah for You

Posted: March 24, 2016 | Author: Lexi Carter | Read Time: 3 minutes

Student in cap and gown in front of t-bird letters

Your high school career is drawing to an end. Maybe you are a junior, or are graduating in a few months. You might still be a freshman or sophomore, but time in high school is rapidly dwindling. People are starting to ask questions like:

“What are you doing after you graduate?”

“What do you want to go into?”

“Where do you want to go to school?”

Come on. I know you have heard these questions from parents, teachers, school counselors, friends, etc. Everyone in your life knows that big things are coming after high school. Just one question – do you? Do you know which school to go to? What to major in? Why there are so many different types of colleges and which one is best?

Before we list the endless choices before you, let us consider your two biggest competitors: 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. I’m sure you’ve heard good and bad about both, but let’s set those thoughts aside for a moment and consider both paths for your future.

The 2 year college. Most commonly known as community college. Associate’s degrees can be earned here as well as technical certificates or trade skills. Some positives of attending a community college include the smaller class sizes, the commuter-friendly lifestyle, a second chance to raise your GPA if you had some issues in high school, you can start working sooner and, probably the biggest reason to attend, cheaper schooling.

The 4-year university. Everyone has heard of Harvard and Princeton and all those crazy-hard-to-get-in-to schools. But to get a quality education, you don’t have to go to an Ivy League. There are plenty of options in your own backyard. Universities offer training in tons of fields, options for internships, professional development opportunities, independent living from parents, events, lectures and much more.

Some other things to consider: If you know that you want to be a [insert job title here (ex: physical therapist, biochemical engineer, entrepreneur, registered nurse, family psychologist)] and have known for years now, then you are better off going straight to a university. However, the majority of college students have a pretty foggy idea of their future career goals and end up switching majors a few times before finding ‘the one’. If this sounds more like you, then maybe a community college is best to start out at. It is significantly cheaper to explore different fields of study at a community college than it is at a university. (Trust me, as a university-attending archaeology major who switched to computer science and has finally decided on marketing and writing, I know what I’m talking about.)

A lot more students are choosing to spend two years getting their general courses completed at a community college and then switching to a university for their bachelor’s degree. A word of caution for this educational path: make sure your credits transfer! Either go to a community college that easily transfers to most universities, or check with your specific university of choice to make sure those credits can apply to their school. Taking classes over again is the worst. Save yourself time and money, precious resources to every college student, and do your research.

There are a few more options available to you. Technical or trade schools, private colleges, or just a certification program are for very specific qualifications or degrees, like gaining secretarial skills, receiving medical training, or taking a fast-track graphic design program. These are good paths for fast track careers, but not as high-paying of jobs.

See all the colleges in Utah.

This article was published more than 5 years ago and might contain outdated information or broken links. As a result, its accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

Tags: High School

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