Set : Find the Right School
In 6th grade, you may not have college on your mind, but you might know what you want to be when you grow up. If you do, that can help you decide where to go to college. If not, you still have plenty of time to think about it, and it’s OK if it changes often!
Academic Programs in Washington State
Finding the programs you want to explore—and the schools that offer them—can be time-consuming. Online resources like careerbridge.wa.gov can help. The site allows you to search by school, location, degree type, and even academic program—from mechanical engineering to creative writing, or special education to biology.
Do you want to be a doctor? Pilot? Artist? Teacher? Computer programmer? There are schools for all of these careers! Below are short descriptions of the different kinds of schools you can attend after high school. You may not have heard of all of them, so it’s good to know your options:
Two-year colleges are usually called community or technical colleges. Examples of these include Big Bend Community College and Lake Washington Technical College. These schools offer associate degrees (sometimes called two-year degrees) and certificate programs. Washington community and technical colleges teach specific subjects like computer programming, graphic design, early childhood education, and automotive technology, and general subjects like history, math, and English. With some two-year degrees, you can transfer directly to a four-year school. Community colleges usually require a high school diploma and a good GPA for admission. They might also require a placement exam – that’s a test to see how much you know in English, reading, and math.
Four-Year Colleges and Universities
Four-year colleges and universities are popular choices for students who go to college right after high school. These can be public, like the University of Washington, The Evergreen State College, or private, like Seattle Pacific University or Whitworth University. Both types offer certificates, four-year degrees, and graduate degrees in areas such as business, history, biology, math, English, education, and more. Most four year colleges have specific requirements to get in, like a high school diploma and a good GPA, but they also require specific courses, like two years of foreign language.
Private Vocational Colleges
Private vocational colleges are sometimes called voc-tech or trade schools. They often partner with unions and trade groups to offer apprentice and journeyman programs in fields like plumbing, carpentry, or welding. The length of each program varies, but many can take three or more years to complete. They all have different requirements to start the program, so it’s important to learn these early so that you are prepared.
Proprietary or For-Profit Schools
Proprietary or for-profit schools can offer a wide range of postsecondary training and education options, from certificates to associates degrees through bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs.