Picture yourself setting off for a hike up a mountain. When you get to the base, you see many different paths that can get you to the summit, but without a guide, you don’t know which one to take. Each path looks different and varies in length and steepness, and you worry you’re not prepared for the more challenging paths if any at all.
Think of your post-high school journey as this hike up the mountain and allow us to be your guide.
First off, we want you to know that of the many paths, there is certainly at least one that you’re prepared to take. You just need to find the one that best suits your current needs and future ambitions, while keeping in mind that the hike up the mountain is not a race. All that matters is that you get to the summit, which in our extended analogy, represents attaining higher education that can help you achieve your goals. In this blog, we’ll go over the various paths you can take so you can learn a bit more about what to expect as you make your way to the peak of Mt. Edification.
A technical branch is an institution that emphasizes education and training in technical fields, such as culinary arts or electrical construction. In these programs, students are typically granted an associate in applied science degree and are ready to work after their education and training. Because technical branches offer shorter programs that have clear-cut paths to employment, they’re a great option for students who already know they’re interested in a technical field, or who may not want to take on a longer, more expensive program. Learn more about technical branches to see if they would be a good fit for you.
Research universities offer a wide variety of courses and programs, ranging from bachelor’s degrees to professional degrees. This type of school focuses on instruction, research and public service, and they typically have large student bodies and expansive campuses. For example, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma are both research universities. Because there are so many programs and courses to choose from, research universities offer a great opportunity for students who want to try a variety of classes before deciding on a major or career path. Learn more about research universities here.
Regional universities are similar to research universities, but they’re typically smaller – regional universities have mid-sized student populations and campuses. Like research universities, this type of school focuses on instruction and research, and offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In some instances, associate or professional degrees are offered. Regional universities are a great choice for students who want an on-campus experience in a smaller, more tight-knit setting. There are many regional universities to choose from in Oklahoma, like Northeastern State University and Cameron University – learn more about them to find your best fit.
Public Liberal Arts University
Public liberal arts universities offer bachelor’s degrees in arts and science fields, including humanities. This type of institution emphasizes smaller class sizes that allow for close interaction between faculty and students. If you love class discussions and getting the opportunity for more individual attention in the classroom, this type of institution may be right for you. There’s actually only one public liberal arts university in Oklahoma: the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha.
Often referred to as “two-year colleges,” community colleges offer students the opportunity to receive associate degrees. These degrees can be transferred to a 4-year university to work toward a bachelor’s degree, or they can translate directly into jobs, depending on what career path you want to pursue. Community colleges are more affordable than 4-year universities and they can be a great way to attain higher education for students who are not quite ready to commit to a longer program. Community colleges also offer flexible class schedules, allowing students to work while attaining their associate degree if they choose to. Explore all of Oklahoma’s community colleges to see if this is the right path for you.
Now that we’ve gone over the different paths you can take to get to the summit, it’s time to think about which one is right for you. Here are a few factors to consider as you make your choice:
- What are my goals? It’s okay if you’re not sure how to answer this question right now. Higher education is an amazing way to learn more about yourself and the career options available to you to figure out what you want to do. Talking through your interests and ambitions with a school counselor or one of our College Coaches can help you decide which path is best for you.
- Which programs can I afford? There are many different strategies out there to help you pay for college, from financial aid and scholarships, to college savings plans. Reach out to one of our College Coaches to discuss what you’re looking for in your higher education and how you can pay for it.
- Where do I want to live? Do you want the classic on-campus experience living in a dorm? Or would you like to continue living at home during college? The answer to this question will help narrow down your options.
At the end of the day, we want you to know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to higher education, and no matter which path you pick, you’re doing the right thing by investing in your future. We’re here to help you choose a path, navigate your way up the mountain, and reach the peak. Trust us, when you’re at the top, you’ll be enjoying the view.
Reach out to us today with any questions you may have about planning for college and let’s go on this journey together.