Your Education After High School

What is higher education?

Higher education is any school you go to after high school. You might go to a college or university. You might go to a community college. You might go to a career school. All of those are higher education.

What is the difference between a college and a university?

A college is a school you go to after high school. You can get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree at a college. You can get a degree in many different majors. Many students live on or near their college campus.

A university is also a school you can go to after high school. You can get an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree at a university. Universities usually have even more majors than colleges do. A university is usually bigger than a college. Many students live on or near their university campus.

Colleges and universities can be private or public. Colleges and universities also can be non-profit or for-profit.

What is the difference between a public college or university and a private college or university?

A public college or university:

  • gets money from the state where it is located. That money is used to run the school.

  • might cost you less if you live in that state. You might pay less in tuition.

  • can be very big. It might have 10,000 to 40,000 students.

  • can have big classes. Some classes might have more than 300 students.

  • might have more choices for what you can major in.

A private college or university:

  • does not get money from the state. It needs tuition and donations to run the school.

  • might cost you more. You might pay more in tuition.

  • can be smaller. Some have 1,000 students.

  • can have smaller classes.

  • might have fewer choices for what you can major in.

What is the difference between a non-profit college or university and a for-profit one?

A non-profit college or university:

  • is not owned by anyone.

  • mainly wants to help students learn.

  • offers many different majors.

A for-profit college or university:

  • is owned by a person or business.

  • usually is organized to make money for its owners.

  • often focuses on a few majors or areas of study.

What about community colleges?

A community college is a school you can go to after high school. It usually gets money from the state where it is located. Students usually do not live on a community college campus. That helps make school less expensive for you.

Community college students can get an associate degree. Sometimes, students can get a license or certificate for a job. Many community colleges help you transfer your class credits to a college or university.

You might go to a community college full-time. Then you usually can get an associate degree in two years. You might go to community college part-time. Then it can take you longer to get an associate degree.

What is a career school?

A career school trains you for a skilled job. Sometimes, career schools are called trade schools. You sometimes can get a license or certification from a career school or trade school in one or two years. Some community colleges also can give you a license or certification.

What is a license or certification?

A license or certification shows that you have the training or skill to do a job. You might need one to get a job in some fields. First, you might study in a school. Or you might get experience on the job or as an intern. Then you usually have to pass an exam. That shows you meet the standards for that license or certification. Most licenses and certifications are only good for a set time. Then you have to renew them.

What is a major?

When you choose your major, you are choosing the course of study. The major you choose decides the classes you must take. For example, you might be a business major. Then you will take a lot of business classes. And when you graduate, you will have a bachelor’s degree in business.

What is a degree?

You get a degree by finishing all the classes for your major. An associate degree says you studied for about two years to finish those classes. A bachelor’s degree says you studied for four or five years to finish those classes.

What is tuition?

Tuition is what you pay to go to a college, university, or career school. It pays for the classes you take. Some schools charge for a year or semester. Some schools charge by the class. Some schools charge by the unit or credit.

What are room and board?

Room means where you live. Board means what you eat.

  • You might live in a dormitory on campus. You might have a meal plan that lets you eat at places on campus. That means you pay the college for your room and board.

  • You might live in an apartment off campus. You might buy and cook your own food. That means you pay your own expenses for room and board. That might be cheaper. But there might be more surprise expenses.

What is financial aid?

Financial aid helps you pay for your higher education. It is money that can help you pay for:

  • tuition

  • fees

  • room and board

  • books and supplies

  • transportation

Where can I get financial aid?